Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

The Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) is a small to medium-sized passerine bird belonging to the family Laniidae. It is found in a wide range of habitats across Asia, including countries such as India, China, Japan, and Thailand. The Brown Shrike inhabits open woodlands, scrublands, and agricultural areas.

Physical Characteristics:

The Brown Shrike measures around 18-21 centimeters (7-8 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 28-32 centimeters (11-13 inches). It has a grey-brown coloration on its head, back, and wings, with a pale underside and a distinctive black mask around the eyes. The bill is strong and hooked, and the legs and feet are black. The male and female share similar coloration and markings, with little sexual dimorphism.


The Brown Shrike primarily feeds on insects, such as beetles, grasshoppers, and butterflies. It may also consume small reptiles, mammals, and birds. The bird hunts by perching on a high vantage point, such as a tree or a wire, and scanning the surrounding area for prey. Once spotted, it will swoop down to catch the prey using its sharp bill.

Reproduction and Lifecycle:

The breeding season for the Brown Shrike typically occurs between April and August, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form pair bonds that can last for several breeding seasons. They build a cup-shaped nest from twigs, grass, and other plant materials, usually placed in a tree or shrub.

The female lays 4 to 6 pale blue or greenish-white eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 13-15 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at about 16-18 days old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.

Conservation Status:

The Brown Shrike is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. The species is not facing any major threats at present. However, habitat loss due to deforestation, agricultural expansion, and urbanization, as well as hunting and trapping, could pose potential risks to the Brown Shrike population in the future. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation and monitoring populations to ensure their long-term survival.

Updated: 20 April 2023 — 15:08

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