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Long-tailed Fiscal

From Opus

MalePhoto by Mike BarthNairobi National Park, Kenya, June 2012
Male
Photo by Mike Barth
Nairobi National Park, Kenya, June 2012
Lanius cabanisi

Contents

[edit] Identification

26-30 cm, a large shrike with a very long tail.

  • Dark blackish-brown forehead, crown, nape and upper mantle
  • Black lores , ear-coverts and base of hindneck create an inconspicuous facial mask
  • Medium grey mantle and upper back, becoming pale grey on lower back
  • Whitish rump and uppertail-coverts, uppertail-coverts often with barring at tips
  • Dark brown upperwing with white patch on primaries
  • Dark brown tail with faint white tips in fresh plumage
  • White underparts
  • Black bill and legs

Sexes similar but female with dark rufous patch on flanks.
Juveniles have a brownish-black face mask over lores, eye and ear-coverts, a grey-brown crown to lower back finely barred buff, buffy white and heavily dark barred rump and uppertail-coverts and whitish underparts with dark barring on breast and upper belly.

[edit] Distribution

Southern Somalia to Kenya and northeast Tanzania.
Generally common in its small range.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Found in open savanna, dry thornscrub, shrubby open woodlands and cultivated patches.
Occurs from sea-level up to 1600 m.

[edit] Behaviour

A noisy and conspicuous species.

[edit] Diet

Feeds on insects (mainly beetles and Orthoptera), takes also small lizards, snakes and young birds. Recorded to eat fruit, bread and cheese.
Usually forages singly or in small groups. Hunts from a perch (c. 2 m above the ground) from where it dives to the ground to capture its prey. Takes also some prey from the foliage but only rarely in the air. In Kenya reported to be associated with Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, taking grasshoppers and other insects flushed by the foraging weavers. The weavers benefit from the shrikes alarm calls.
Most probably impales its prey and keeps food caches.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season January to May, August to October and December in Kenya, May to June in Somalia and January and June in Tanzania. A pair holds a separate breeding territory close to other pairs and the birds congreate in the evening in small groups. Very noisy and conspicuous during display, waving its long tail in all directions and raising fanned tail over the back. The nest is a large cup made of grass and rootlets, some small twigs and white spider weg. It's placed in bush or dense tree, 2 to 3 m above the ground. Lays 3, sometimes 4 eggs.

[edit] Movements

A resident species, probably some movements in the southern part of its breeding range.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2014)

[edit] External Links

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