6 Apr 2015

Long-tailed Shrike still present – Dhahran Hills golf course

A Long-tailed Shrike was glimpsed briefly on the golf course at Dhahran on 14 February and was positively identified as a Long-tailed Shrike on 18 February when I had reasonable views and took a couple of photos of the bird in the same place. The bird has been seen a few times over the last couple of months but it is always flighty and difficult to see well. On 4 April in the very early morning I saw the bird again in the large tree by the golf course pond and over a period of two hours managed to get a few good views of the bird. As always it was flighty but I did manage to get the best photos I have taken so far as it perched briefly in a hedge. Long-tailed Shrike is a medium-sized shrike with a very long, graduated tail. They have a black facial mask extending as a broad band through the lores and eye to lower nape with the crown to mantle dark grey and the back and rump rufous. They also have the upperwing blackish, tertials edged pale buffish-white and a conspicuous, although small, white patch at base of primaries. The tail is black, tipped white with the outer tail fetahers edged pale buff. The throat is white and the underparts whitish, strongly tinged with rufous on the breast side and flanks. Races differ mainly in size (nominate largest), tail length, and colour of head and upperparts with erythronotus similar to nominate but distinctly smaller, somewhat duller, and with narrower black band on forehead. They favour open country with scrub, light woodland and bushes, mainly in cultivated areas and feed on a wide variety of insects such as grasshoppers and beetles as well as small mammals, lizards and frogs that they hunt from a prominent perch. The subspecies now appears to be L. s. erythronotus that breeds in southeast Kazakhstan, southern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, southern Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan eastwards to north and north-central India and probably also northeast Iran. This is also the subspecies that has occurred elsewhere in Arabia and is migratory, wintering from October to March in the Indian plains.
Long-tailed Shrike

Long-tailed Shrike

Long-tailed Shrike

Long-tailed Shrike

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