The long-tailed shrike “Lanius schach” is also known as “Rufous-backed Shrike”, which is medium size bird. It is about 24-25 cm in length. This shrike is a member of the bird family Laniidae.
Long-tailed shrike is an Asian vagrant (breeds in Central and South Asia “Kazakhstan to New Guinea”) southwards and eastwards). Recalls a rather drab Great Grey Shrike at a glance, but straightforwardly distinguished by relatively longer, narrower, and more pointed tail and rufous rump and upper tail coverts, with off-white underparts shading to warm buffish-orange on flanks. Its crown and mantle are dull greys, scapulars are washed with rufous, and wings are blackish-brown with rufous feather fringes.
In-flight, a very distinctive shrike, with relatively short, blunt wings which exaggerate long, graduated and pointed tail. Blackish-brown tail, shading to dull rufous-brown on outermost feathers, contrasts with rufous rump and lower back. The only large shrike lacking white in the tail; indeed, wings also seem to lack any white, although, given a good view, a very small whitish patch at the base of primaries may be noted (easily overlooked and generally invisible when perched).
Sexes are similar, but the male has an all-black bill and the female is duller, with a browner mask, paler base to lower mandible, and may lack any white in the wing. Juvenile shows fine vermiculations on flanks and upperparts have clear pale buff fringes to wing feathers, has a duller mask and lacks any white in the wing; by first autumn much as adult female (but retained juvenile flight feathers and primary coverts are worn and brown, contrasting with new blackish coverts and tertials).
CALL / SONG
It is a sedentary bird, but a Long-tailed shrike call is typically a sharp, harsh grating ‘chakerek’ scolding call. The long-tailed shrike Song is unlikely to be heard in our region, is remarkably rich and varied, and contains some mimicry of many species like cuckoos, lapwings, squirrels, and puppies. The call relates to the squealing of a frog caught by a deadly snake.
The long-tailed shrike is vagrant in Central Europe, Turkey, and Israel; (race erythronotus). In nature, their ranges are thickets, tall scrub, edges of cultivation, plantations, open woodland, orchards, tall hedgerows, and gardens. Long-tailed shrike perches in open on bush tops in typical shrike fashion, and are usually quite approachable. The bird’s ability to maintain the feeding territories, naturally found single or in pairs have been noticed indulging in play behavior fighting over perches.
A long-tailed shrike diet consists of large insects, rodents, small birds, lizards, or sometimes capturing fish from a stream and small snakes. The long-tailed shrike also captures insects in flight. Moreover, the shrike has been observed to feed on the fruits of the “neem” in India, even stabbing to impale them on a twig.
Related Reading – Loggerhead Shrikes on Nesting Birds in a Sagebrush Environment