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Brown Shrike - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by the late Laurence Poh
Ipoh, Malaysia, November 2003
Lanius cristatus


Photo © by Romy Ocon
Paranaque City, Philippines, 8 October 2008

17-20 cm (6¾-7¾ in)

  • Dark brown upperparts and crown
  • White face
  • Black eye mask
  • Yellow-buff underparts

Female similar but has a greyer crown

Similar Species

Isabelline Shrike: more orangey-brown upperparts
Red-backed Shrike: longer primary projection


Breeds Northeast Asia. Winters Northeast Africa, India and Malay Archipelago.

Accidental to Alaska and Newfoundland, British Isles and Denmark.



Photo © by bhutjoe
Hat Yai, Thailand, 25 September 2020

This is a polytypic species, consisting of four subspecies[1]:

  • L. c. cristatus:
  • L. c. confusus:
  • L. c. superciliosus:
  • L. c. lucionensis:


Found in virtually all habitats, including urban areas. Conspicuous and noisy, often on telephone wires. Forests and semi desert.



Very aggressive preying on large insects (including wasps and bees); sometimes takes mammals and small birds.


Photo © by Romy Ocon
Coastal Lagoon, Manila Bay, Philippines, 27 September 2010

They nest in trees or bushes; the clutch consists of 2-6 eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  3. Birdforum Member observations

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