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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Shrikes of Cyprus

Male Red Backed Shrike

The Red Backed Shrike was the most common of the Shrikes  to be found in the shrub and outback of Cyprus.Part of ts Latin name Lanius, means to butcher.This familly of birds are all strong billed,having a toothlike projection.They are notoriously carniverous feeding on small invertebrates,mice and lizards,which they impale on thorney scrubs.The red backed shrike was once to be found in Southern Britain,but disappeared when farming intensified.

 They scan for prey atop trees and shrubs,then drop down to catch them.They always fly close to the ground in order to flush out any rodents or insects!
 Female on the lookout for prey.Another benefit of perching high gives them a good overall view of the surroundings,making them also, quite easy to spot!
 A male in full breeding plummage is a very attractive sight!
 The Woodchat Shrike was quite uncommon to the area.I only encountered a handfull of these birds on my travels.It is a rather skulking medium sized Shrike with its flight being more dashing and direct.It shares the same habitat as the Red Backed without apparent competition.Can be found in semi open spaces with well spaced trees and bushes but occurs in cultivated country too.
 Not too many are known to breed in Cyprus though they are in small numbers.Spain, Portugal,Italy and Greece being major strongholds for these birds.
 Another rather colourfull individual sits on its lookout perch!

Its song is the best developed of the western palearctic species, but usually sings from within the confides of a bush for cover.My next blog will cover the other 2 Shrikes that I saw on my sojourns,thanks again for looking in on my blog and do return shortly!!!

1 comment:

  1. Paul. You did well with the shrikes.Super images and lots of interesting information about these special birds. Looking forward to more Cyprus shrikes.