Nasty Hobbit's New Home

Nemo, quamvis sit prudens, est, quin cottidie multa addiscere possit.

Leave a comment

Birds in the ‘Hood Part 2

Philippine Shrike

Lanius cristatus lucionensis


It’s wintertime, and the brown shrikes are here. The Philippine shrike, Lanius cristatus lucionensis, which breeds in eastern China and Korea in summertime have arrived in their winter quarters (in the Philippines, among other tropical Asian countries) for their annual migration. This one in the neighborhood is a male of the species (females have barring on the belly and flanks). It was perching on one of the branches of the large dita tree across the street, so I quickly got the spotting scope and attached my camera and hoped it would stay still and pose for some pictures. I had to increase the ISO because the bird was in the shade, so there’s a lot of noise in the picture. It’s still not very sharp, but oh well, such is life. I chose this picture because it shows the bird’s long bristles (they look like eyelashes), which I find very cool. This picture also shows his greyish crown (a distinguishing characteristic of the subspecies), white eyebrows, orange flank and, of course, the signature bandit-mask.


Of course the shrike isn’t the only bird with a bandit-mask. Casual observers can mistake a brown shrike for a yellow-vented bulbul (called palago in these parts) from afar. Here are two pictures of the two of them together:



In the upper picture, the shrike is in focus. In the lower picture, the yellow-vented bulbul is in focus.

Lanius cristatus lucionensis was first described by Brisson in his 1760 publication Ornithologia sive synopsis methodica sistens avium divisionem in Ordines, Sectiones, Genera, Species, ipsarumque Varietates, and called it La Pie-grieche de Luçon with the binomial name Lanius lucionensis. According to him, in the Philippines the bird was known locally as cabeçote [cabezote in Spanish].




La Pie-grieche de Luçon

Voyez Pl. XVIII. Fig. 1.

Lanius superne griseo-rufescens, inferne albo-rufescens; pectore fusco diluto transversium striato; macula pone oculos fusca; rectricibus griseo-rufescentibus, lateralibus lineola transversa, fusca apice notatis & albo-rufescente terminatis …. LANIUS LUCIONENSIS.

Les Habitans de l’Isle de Luçon l’appellent CABEÇOTE.

Elle est a peu pres de la grosseur de notre Pie-grieche rousse. Sa longueur depuis le bout du bec jusqu’a celui de la queue est de sept pouces cinq lignes, & jusqu’a celui des ongles de six pouces une ligne. Son bec depuis son crochet jusqu’aux coins de la bouche a neuf lignes & demie de long; sa queue trois pouces une ligne; son pied dix lignes & demie; & celui du milieu des trois doigts anterieurs, joint avec l’ongle, huit lignes & demie. Les lateraux sont un peu plus courts; & celui de derriere est un peu plus long que ces derniers. Elle a dix pouces dix lignes de vol; & ses ailes, lorsqu’elles sont pliees, s’etendent jusqu’au tiers de la longueur de la queue. Le dessus de la tete, la partie superieure du col & le dos sont d’un gris tirant sur le roux. Le croupion & les couvertures du dessus de la queue sont roussatres & rayees transversalement de brun. De chaque cote de la tete est une tache longitudinale, brune, placee au-dessous & derriere l’oeil. La gorge & le ventre sont blancs. La partie inferieure & les cotes du col, la poitrine, les cotes & les jambes sont d’un blanc-roussatre, varie de petites lignes transversales, d’un brun clair. Les couvertures du dessous de la queue sont d’un blanc-roussatre; cette couleur etant separee du gris-brun par une petite ligne brune, tres-etroite. Les grandes plumes de l’aile sont d’un gris-brun, & ont leur bord exterieur roussatre: les moyennes sont de la meme couleur que les grandes couvertures. La queue est composee de douze plumes d’un gris-tirant sur le roux: toutes les laterales sont terminees d’un blanc-roussatre.. epare de l’autre couleur par une petite ligne transversale, brune. Les deux plumes du milieu de la queue sont plus longues que les laterales, qui vont toutes en diminuant un peu & par degres jusqu’a la plus courte. Autour de la base du bec sont quelques longs poils bruns, tournes en-devant, & roides comme des soyes. Le bec, les pieds & les ongles sont gris-bruns. On la trouve a l’Isle de Luçon, d’ou elle a ete apportee a M. de Reaumur par M. Poivre.

(The inhabitants of the island of Luzon call it CABEZOTE.

It is roughly the size of our red-headed [woodchat] shrike. Its length from the tip of the beak to the tail is seven pouces and five lignes, and to the nail six pouces and one ligne. Its beak from its hook to the corners of its mouth is nine and a half lignes long; its tail three pouces and one ligne; its foot ten and a half lignes; and the middle toe with the nail, eight and a half lignes. The inner and outer toes are slightly shorter, and the hind toe is slightly longer than the inner and outer toes. It is ten pouces and ten lignes in flight; & the wings when folded, extend to one third of the length of the tail. The crown, the upper part of the neck and back are a reddish grey. The rump and upper tail coverts is reddish brown and striped transversally with brown. On each side of the head is a longitudinal mark, brown, placed below and behind the eye. The throat and belly are white. The lower part and neck, breast, flanks and legs are a reddish white, variable barring of light brown. The under tail coverts are reddish white; this color is separated from the grey-brown by a small, very narrow, brown line. The large wing feathers are grey-brown, and their outer edges reddish: the middle coverts are the same color as the major coverts. The tail is composed of twelve feathers of a reddish grey color: all laterals have a reddish white tips .. a small brown transverse line separates the different colors. Both the middle tail feathers are longer than the laterals, which are slightly decreasing by degrees to the shortest. Around the base of the beak are a few long brown hairs that project outwards, and are stiff as bristles. The beak, feet and nails are grey-brown. It is found in the island of Luzon, from where it was brought to Mr. Reaumur by Mr. Poivre.)


  • Brisson, Mathurin Jacques. 1760. Ornithologia sive synopsis methodica sistens avium divisionem in Ordines, Sectiones, Genera, Species, ipsarumque Varietates.