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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Shrikes/Laniidae

Woodchat Shrike/Lanius senator - Adult

L 17-19 cm. Breeds in open wooded areas with glades, interspersed cultivations and scattered trees, preferably in association with fruit orchards. Usually requires some sandy or bare ground in territory. Tropical migrant (Africa).
IDENTIFICATION: Adult male: Easily identified by red-brown crown and nape, black eye-mask, forehead and mantle. Wings black above, usually with white primary-base patch. Large white scapular patch and uppertail-coverts add further to ‘showy’ appearance, especially in flight. - Adult female: As male but duller, with dark brown-grey mantle, and often some buffy-white mixed with black of forehead and eye-mask. Some are borderline cases, impossible to sex in the field. - Juvenile/1st-winter: Grey-vermiculated above, on breast and on flanks. Basic colour grey, with variable elements of brown; almost always distinctly reddish-brown on neck-side, greater coverts and tertials. Note suggestion of pale scapular patch and pale rump; pale primary patch diffusely defined and tinged rusty. - Variation: On W Mediterranean islands (ssp. badius) white primary patch lacking, and forehead has less black. In C Turkey and eastward (niloticus) breeders have extra big primary patch (pure white on juv., too), white tail-base and much black on forehead; often incipient adult features as early as 1st autumn.
VOICE: Alarm a series of short, hoarse calls, ‘ve-ve-ve-...’, or faster, like a hoarse trill, ‘dsherrrrr’. Song rather loud, sometimes fast stream of squeaky and clicking notes, sometimes fast stream of squeaky and clicking notes, sometimes slower with expert mimicry; phrases sometimes repeated several times, but as a rule a bit varied in detail.

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