More on Tiger Shrike

on 31st October 2006

An earlier posting on how a Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus) meticulously dismember a scarab beetle lamented the fact that there has not been any report of the bird taking vertebrates in Singapore. It is very possible that someone may have seen the incident to subsequently forget about it. This is exactly the situation.

After reading the blog, Mike Hooper kindly sent an image of a Tiger Shrike swallowing a lizard, seen at the Kallang Riverside Park on 7th October 2006 (above).

And according to our bird specialist R. Subaraj: “…not enough of the lizard remains visible for a positive identification but I suspect that it might be a young Changeable Lizard (Calotes versicolor), based on the long tail and the yellowish colouration of what is visible.

And Subaraj continued: “Several years ago, at Marina East, I came across the headless corpse of a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia), a migrant, impaled on a thorn of a short tree. Though there was no direct evidence, I suspect that it was the doing of the local Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach).

“In Malaysia, I once came across the “larder” of a wintering Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus). It had impaled a selection of insects onto the barb wire on the top of a perimeter fence! Modern adaptation?”

Coming back to the shrikes, according to Chan Yoke Meng, these birds have no problem feeding on caterpillars, spiders and other invertebrates. They usually swallow them within seconds (above: top Brown, lower Tiger).

As with raptors, bee-eaters (a,b), herons and kingfishers, shrikes cast pellets of undigested parts of the food they eat. The image above shows the bird after casting the pellet while the lower image shows the pellet. Beetle parts are clearly seen.

Input by Mike Hooper, R. Subaraj and Chan Yoke Meng. Images by Mike (top) and Meng (the rest).

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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