Brown Shrike impaling centipede before eating it

“Sharing with you photos taken at the Chinese Garden [in 2010] and some facts on the Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus), a bird in the shrike family that is found mainly in China, Japan and Korea and migrates to India and SE Asia during winter. It has a distinctive black ‘bandit-mask’ through the eye.

“We can expect to see this bird this month when migratory birds start to arrive in Singapore. A classic behaviour that is typical of this bird is captured here. It would usually perch on a thorny tree, in this case the pomegranate (Punica granatum), and fly down to the ground to catch its prey. It would then impale its prey on the thorn of the tree, wait for the prey to stop moving (above left) before attempting to retrieve (above right) and swallow it (left). So much easier and smarter compared to the kingfisher which will spend a lot more effort to whack the hell out of its prey before swallowing it. Well, that’s life for the birds.”

KM Sim
Singapore
3rd September 2011

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3 Responses

  1. Sun Chong Hong

    The first time I saw a Brown Shrike was in Feb 2009 in my condo. Since then it has been seen regularly during the winter migratory seasons. The last time I saw it was on 3 May 2011 which seemed to be a bit late for its departure. How time flies and now I am expecting to see it again soon.

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    • Tou Jing Yi

      Dear Chong Hong,

      The Brown Shrike (especially cristatus from the northmost) often leave my garden at Ipoh around late May, so it wasnt surprising, I had seen the first arrival this season last weekend at my garden.

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  2. […] Another interesting point is the feeding behaviour of this Tiger Shrike in wedging the fruit onto the broken end of the branch before eating it. This behaviour is reminiscent of shrikes’ habit of impaling animal prey onto sharp spines before eating, as seen in these links: LINK 1 and LINK 2. […]

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