Brown Shrikes

Brown Shrikes (Lanius cristatus)


Brown Shrikes

The Brown Shrikes, Lanius cristatus, is a small passerine bird in the Shrikes family.

It was formerly often considered conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species) with the closely related Red-backed Shrike, L. collurio, and Isabelline Shrike, L. isabellinus.

Distribution / Range

This bird breeds across central and eastern Asia. It is migratory, wintering south to India, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia.

In winter, Brown Shrike is found in secondary forests, often close to human habitation. This species is a rare vagrant to Europe and has been recorded in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nesting / Breeding

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.

Sunbathing Brown Shrike

Diet / Feeding

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.

Females are less contrasted and have a greyer crown.

Immature Brown Shrikes are scalloped on the underparts.

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from

Brown Shrike - from the back
Brown Shrike eating insect
Brown Shrike from the front
Brown Shrike
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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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