Brown Shrike Feeding Behaviour – Impaling Food Item

on 24th December 2023

Shrikes are known to impale prey on thorns or sharp broken branches. I have seen the Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus do this occasionally. On 21 December 2023 at the Malim Nawar Wetlands, Perak, Malaysia, I was able to observe the activity at close range, using the car as hide. The adult female I observed had a piece of an animal prey in the beak but it was too large to manage. It proceeded to impale the item on the sharp point of a broken branch in dead bush (see Plate 1).

Plate 1: Brown Shrike impaling prey on the sharp end of a branch

It took three attempts for the bird to succeed. It then was able to eat the prey piecemeal (see Plate 2).

Plate 2: Brown Shrike with piecemeal prey for consumption

Good documentation of similar behaviour by Steven Cheong can be found in the link.

(Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS)
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

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Amar-Singh HSS

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS, Cert Theology (Aust, Hons), MBBS (Mal), MRCP (UK), FRCP (Glasg), MSc Community Paediatrics (Ldn, dist), is a Consultant Paediatrician. He served the Malaysian civil service for more than 35 years, led regional Paediatric and Research departments, is an active child advocate and the recipient of a number of international awards. He has been a bird watcher for around 50 years, published two bird books, has a number of international bird publications, contributed to more than 20 international bird books/guides, and contributes to online bird image and audio databases. He is an active contributor to the Bird Ecology Study Group with a large number of detailed posts and write-ups on bird ecology. He is a life member of the Malaysian Nature Society, a member of the BCC-MNS Records Committee, a member of the Oriental Bird Club and supports eBird. He is interested in spending time getting to know bird behaviour and considers himself a bird-friend. Amar is based at Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

Other posts by Amar-Singh HSS

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