15 April 2024

Keralini type Turkestan Shrike – Dhahran Waste Water Lake

I saw an odd shrike at the Waste Water Lake, but it was distant and good views could not be obtained. I tried to get close to the bird but it was always moving but I eventually managed to get behind a bush and it flew in landed briefly and flew off. I got a few close-up photos of it but it only stayed for a few seconds and was gone. I could not relocate it but on the views in the field and from the photo it appeared to be a keralini type Turkestan Shrike. I sent the photo to Alan Dean who is an expert on shrikes, amongst many other things, and he sent me the following very interesting information. Panov’s ‘The True Shrikes of the World’ regards karelini as a hybrid form, between Turkestan phoenicuroides and Red-backed collurio but others regard it as a variant of phoenicuroides including Lars Svensson, who notes that the wing-formula seems always to match pheonicuroides and not collurio as does the tail pattern. Hybrids can vary of course but there are lots of photos of hybrids which look obviously intermediate whereas these ‘karelini’ types have greyer upperparts and crown that typical phoenicuroides but don’t show much else in the way of intermediate plumage.