Isabelline shrike

   ›      ›   Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus

The isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) belongs to the family of shrikes, the Laniidae.

The isabelline shrike species is distributed in Mongolia, Russia, China, India, Arabian peninsula, Africa, Persian gulf and Pakistan. The plumage of these shrike species is isabelline (sandy color). These shrikes are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Isabelline Shrike Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) is a small-sized shrike, measuring 17 to 18 cm in length and weighing 25 to 34 grams.

The adult isabelline shrike has sandy brown plumage. The tail is long and rusty in color. The lore is gray colored and extends beyond the eye. The supercilium is whitish. The back and wings are darker.

The bill is metal gray and the tip of the upper mandible is hooked. The irises are blackish. The legs and feet are blackish. The call of these species is a rapid, repeated "keck..keck..keck" sound.
Indian birds - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus
1.Birds of India - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus by Pkspks

Birds of India - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus
2.Indian birds - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus by Koshy Koshy

Indian birds - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus
3.Birds of India - Photo of Isabelline shrike - Lanius isabellinus by MPF

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These isabelline shrike species are distributed in Mongolia, south and east Russia, Arabian peninsula, Africa, Middle East, Pakistan and China.

In India, these species are distributed in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

The isabelline shrike nominate subspecies L. i. isabellinus is distributed in Mongolia, southeast Russia, north and northwest China. It winters in northeast Africa and Saudi Arabia.

The subspecies L. i. arenarius is distributed in central and west China and western Mongolia. It winters in Pakistan and northern India. The subspecies L. i. tsaidamensis breeds in west and central China and winters in Pakistan and north India.

Ecosystem and habitat

These isabelline shrike species do not normally occur in forests. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 3000 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include agricultural lands and urban areas.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these isabelline shrike species include tropical and subtropical dry grasslands, dry savanna, dry steppe, tropical and subtropical dry shrublands, wetlands, freshwater lakes and marshes.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these isabelline shrike species consists mainly of insects. Insects, insect larvae, spiders, beetles and termites are their primary food. They hunt from prominent perches. They often impale the prey on thorns, before eating.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these isabelline shrike species is from April to August in China. These species are monogamous and highly territorial. They may raise a second brood.

The breeding pair construct the cup-shaped nest among thorny bushes. Both the pair incubate the eggs and raise the young. The clutch contains 4-6 white eggs with a few pale brown spots.

Migration and movement patterns

These isabelline shrike species are migratory birds. The breeding populations in the northern ranges migrate southwards in September-October. The return migration to the breeding grounds occurs in early summer.

Isabelline shrike - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Lanius isabellinus
  • Species author: Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Lanius isabellinus Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833
  • Family: Laniidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Isabelline shrike, Chinese: 荒漠伯劳, French: Pie-grièche isabelle, German: Isabellwürger, Spanish: Alcaudón isabel, Russian: Рыжехвостый жулан, Japanese: アカオモズ
  • Other names: Central Asian Shrike, Pale-brown Shrike, Chinese Shrike
  • Distribution: Mongolia, Russia, China, India, Arabian peninsula, Africa, Persian gulf, Pakistan
  • Diet and feeding habits: invertebrates, insects, insect larvae
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be common (Harris and Franklin 2000). The generation length is 3.9 years. Its distribution size is about 4,880,000

Habitat alteration and destruction and human intrusions and disturbance are the main threats that are endangering the survival of these shrike species.

IUCN and CITES status

The isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the shrike species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Lanius isabellinus
Species:L. isabellinus
Binomial name:Lanius isabellinus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) is closely related to the red-tailed shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides).

The three recognized subspecies of the isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus) are:
1.L. i. isabellinus Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833,
2.L. i. arenarius Blyth, 1846 and
3.L. i. tsaidamensis Stegmann, 1930.
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1.Isabelline shrike photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Pkspks | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 5/9/18
2.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: Koshy Koshy | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/9/18
3.Photo source: (cropped)
Photo author: MPF | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 5/9/18
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