Information on the Eastern Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) is not so easy to come by on the internet and as a result I am posting a few details of this eastern sub-species of Woodchat Shrike here.
Identification is fairly straightforward on spring/summer males with the lores and feathers next the nostrils white and an otherwise broad black forehead and a line through the eyes and ear-coverts, extending down the sides of the neck. The crown, nape and hind neck are a bright chestnut contrasting with the back black which shades into a grey rump. The upper tail-coverts are white and although the tail has black central feathers they have broad white bases measuring 25 – 35 mm in length.
The tips to each feather are white, although this may be difficult to see on the central tail feathers, and the white on the tail base increases until the outermost feather is all white with a small black patch on the inner web. The scapulars are white with the wing-feathers black except for a broad white patch at the base of all the primaries measuring about 17 – 20mm in length from the primary coverts on the closed wing.
The female niloticus often has no black on the face even in adult plumage. Juveniles shown extensive moult of the body feathers, particularly the median and greater coverts on migration, with the equivalent moult in the nominate race senator occurring on the wintering grounds after migration. They are normally paler than nominate with greyer upper-parts. Birds average smaller to the west of their range and larger to the east.
As it is quite distinct and I suppose is a possibility as a vagrant in southern Europe or elsewhere it is worth looking out for if you bird these areas as it has been a very good spring for this species in Saudi Arabia so far with many more birds seen than normal and birds arriving slightly earlier than the previous year at least.
Share on social media:
You may also like:
Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3600 Views]
- 10 amazing birds that have gone extinct [1172 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for continuing to slaughter whales? [1160 Views]
- POLL: Should the trade in both raw and antique ivory be banned? [1115 Views]
- POLL: Should India’s export of tiger skin, parts and bones be stopped? [1072 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [970 Views]
- POLL: Should the use of exotic animal skins for fashion be banned? [945 Views]
- POLL: Should wildlife crime be enforced by tougher legislation? [760 Views]
- POLL: Should the Eurasian Lynx be rewilded? [746 Views]
- POLL: Should the grey squirrel be culled to protect red squirrels? [738 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [42025 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16753 Views]
- POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned? [13871 Views]
- POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [13808 Views]
- POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11112 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [10815 Views]
- POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8596 Views]
- POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8303 Views]
- POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8037 Views]
- POLL: Should China’s dog meat festival be banned? [7392 Views]