“A few days ago, on 3rd April 2012, I came across this interesting, handsome, but unknown shrike along the linking walkway between Chinese Garden MRT Station and the entrance of Chinese Garden.
“This shrike was first discovered hiding inside one of the Ixora shrubs that have been planted by the sides of this long walkway. Hidden from proper view at first, its striking white appearance made me suspect it to be a White-Crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolopus). Only after it was flushed out did I realised that it was a shrike. But, which one? I have seen all three species of shrikes in Singapore, but must admit that I have never come across an adult Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus). So, my initial suspicion was that this could be an adult Tiger Shrike, which is supposedly, rarely encountered in this region.
“However, after searching through the Tiger Shrike images in the Oriental Bird Club Image Database, no matching image was found. After more searches of other shrikes, I still cannot find a similar bird.
“According to Birds of Southeast Asia by Craig Robson, the breeding male Tiger Shrike is described: ‘Grey crown/nape, whitish below, rufescent above with blackish bars/scales, warm brown uppertail, no wing-patch’; and breeding female: ‘Duller; bolder bars/scales above, buffy flanks with blackish scales, whitish loral-patch and thin supercilium’. This shrike would seemed most likely to be an adult breeding male Tiger Shrike – except for its lack of blackish bars/scales and a faint white supercilium above its black eye band.
“So, which species does this shrike belong to? And if it is indeed a breeding male Tiger Shrike, is it an immature due to its lack of blackish bars/scales? Will appreciate if the experts can help with the ID and enlighten us.”
Kwong Wai Chong
7th April 2012