Yellow-billed Shrikes

Yellow-billed Shrikes (Corvinella corvina)

The Yellow-billed Shrikes (Corvinella corvina) is a small passerine bird in the shrike family. It is sometimes known as Long-tailed Shrike but this is to be discouraged since it invites confusion with the Long-tailed Shrike, Lanius schach, of tropical southern Asia.

A Bird Perched on a Wire Yellow-billed Shrikes
A Bird Perched on a Wire

Yellow-billed Shrikes Distribution / Range:

The Yellow-billed Shrike is a common resident breeding bird in tropical Africa from Senegal east to Uganda. It frequents forests and other habitats with trees.

Breeding / Nesting:

The nest is a cup structure in a bush or tree into which four or five eggs are laid. Only one female in a group breeds at a given time, with other members providing protection and food.


The Yellow-billed Shrike is 18cm long with a long tail and short wings. The adult has mottled brown upperparts and streaked buff underparts. There is a brown eye mask and a rufous wing patch, and the bill is yellow. Males and females look alike, but immatures show buff fringes to the wing feathers.

Yellow-billed Shrike Perched on a Branch
Yellow-billed Shrike Perched on a Branch

This is a conspicuous and gregarious bird, always seen in groups, often lined up on telephone wires. It is noisy, with harsh swee-swee and dreee-too calls.

Diet / Feeding:

The Yellow-billed Shrike feeds on insects that it locates from prominent look-out perches in trees, wires, or posts.

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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