Mar 252012

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.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) – Second calendar year male

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.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) – Second calendar year female

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.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) – Second calendar year female

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.

Tail Pattern of Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) – Second calendar year female

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.

Primary Patch of Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) – Second calendar year female

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

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.

Leave a Comment

  One Response to “Eastern Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator niloticus)”

  1. Jem, outstanding images of this attractively-marked species. You’re right about the lack of information on the web. There’s very little on Wikipedia but I did find an article by Alan Rowlands in British Birds Magazine from July 2010. Unfortunately I’m not a member, so I could only get access to the abstract on the following link:

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? » [4192 Views]
  2. POLL: Should Africa’s poachers be shot on sight? » [4146 Views]
  3. POLL: Should the slaughter of birds in southern Europe be stopped? » [2475 Views]
  4. Dive-bombing kingfisher’s underwater hunt caught on camera » [2380 Views]
  5. POLL: Is Florida’s Bear Hunt Necessary? » [1982 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the trapping of songbirds in Malta be stopped? » [1896 Views]
  7. Scientist under attack after he kills bird that took decades to find » [1746 Views]
  8. Video: Meet the Dog Trained to Take Down Poachers » [1046 Views]
  9. Poll: Should wolves be slaughtered to save caribou? » [999 Views]
  10. POLL: Should fur farming in Finland be banned? » [892 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned? » [14262 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [11306 Views]
  3. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? » [9806 Views]
  4. POLL: Should wildlife hunting contests be permitted in Idaho? » [8456 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [8134 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Africa’s poachers be shot on sight? » [6710 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [6078 Views]
  8. POLL: Should whales and dolphins be kept in captivity for our entertainment? » [5278 Views]
  9. Komodo and its Dragons » [4548 Views]
  10. POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [4130 Views]