Brown Shrike

Brown Shrike  Lanius cristatus


  • Lanius : Latin word for Butcher . They are known as ‘butcher-birds,’ from their habit of storing prey by impaling it on thorns and sharp twigs, giving the resemblance to a butcher’s slaughterhouse
  • Cristatus : Latin word for crested

 Vernacular Names: Hindi: Kerkheta, Pun: Bhuralatora, Ben: Karkata, Guj: Badamilatoro, Ta: Kadiyan,Te: Battegadu/kiritigadu, Mar: TapakiriKhatik

Distribution in India: Winter visitor in Peninsular, East & North east region of India. Not found in West India.

Description: Size of 15-17 cm. Male nominate race has black facial mask from lores back to rear ear-coverts, broad white Supercilium; lower forehead buffish-white, becoming dull brown on forecrown, rufous-brown crown to nape, very slightly duller russet-brown upperparts, but rump and upper tail-coverts a little brighter; upper wing dark brown, wing-coverts and inner flight-feathers fringed whitish; tail dull rufous, outer feather pair edged and tipped paler; throat white, underparts whitish with pale rufous wash, under tail-coverts pale brownish-grey; iris brown; bill and legs black or blackish. Female is like male, and sometimes identical, but generally Supercilium creamy-tinged, dark mask slightly less distinct in loral area, and side of breast and flanks with fine dusky vermiculations; in non-breeding season bill usually duller, with pinkish base.

Habitat:It is found in open areas with bushes and scattered small trees, sometimes in urban parks

Food Habits:It eats insects, mainly beetles; lizards and occasionally mice and nestling birds. It forges solitary or in pairs; watches from exposed perch, preferably bush or electric wire, diving down to catch food on ground.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Siberia and eastern Asia between may to June. Nest built by both sexes, in less than one week Nest is an open cup made from twigs, grass stalks, rootlets, dry leaves and moss, lined with hair and fine grass above ground in tree or tall bush. They lay a clutch 4-6 eggs, replacement clutch laid if first attempt failed during laying or incubation stages; incubation done by female, female is fed on nest by male. Incubation period is 12–16 days; chicks fed by both parents, nestling period 13–16 days,young remain near nest for minimum of 2 weeks after fledging. Nests parasitized by Common cuckoo andIndian Cuckoo.