Adult in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
Immature in Kolkata, West Bengal, India.
The Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus is a small passerine bird in the shrike family. It was formerly often considered conspecific with the closely-related Red-backed Shrike, L. collurio, and Isabelline Shrike, L. isabellinus.
This bird breeds across central and eastern Asia. It is migratory, wintering south to India, southeast Asia and Indonesia. A wide range of habitats is used for breeding, from taiga and deciduous forest to semi-desert. It builds its nest in a tree or bush, laying 2-6 eggs.
In winter, Brown Shrike is found in secondary forest, often close to human habitation. This species is a rare vagrant to Europe, and has been recorded in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The food is mainly insects and small birds and mammals, caught by a sally from a prominent perch. This is a typical shrike hunting technique.
The Brown Shrike is a small shrike. Like its relatives, it is long-tailed, and perches quite upright. The adult male's upper parts and crown are darkish brown. The face is white with the typical shrike black "bandit-mask" through the eye. Underparts are yellowish buff, although the hues vary somewhat between the different races. Its call is a harsh chatter that pierces the early morning air.
Females are less contrasted and have a greyer crown. Immature Brown Shrikes are scalloped on the underparts.