Laniidae & Irenidae

Shrikes are the passerine (songbird) equivalent of raptors, hunting vertebrate animals such as frogs, lizards, mice, small birds and even bats, as well as invertebrate prey. A much smaller family than the bulbuls, the shrikes nevertheless have a much wider global distribution, being found right across the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, as well as much of Africa. Their short stout bills are equipped with a hooked tip, and a “tomial” tooth on the upper mandible, which resembles that of the falcons (Falconidae). Shrikes possess several other features that are reminiscent of raptors, including slightly protruding position of the eyes, which facilitates binocular vision, and some hunting techniques. Lacking talons with which to strike and hold down prey, however, they kill prey with their bills rather than their feet, and impale the carcass on a the thorn of a shrub or secure it in a crevice before dismembering it. Instantly recognizable by their large heads and (usually) black facial mask, these birds spend long periods perched upright on low branches, wires, fence posts or poles from where they can spy and pounce on their prey. Build nests are cup-shaped, and built in shrubs and trees.

Of the three species that occur in Java, two are migrants from the Northern Hemisphere and the remaining one a resident, which is the one occurring in Baluran.


Direct, shallow wingbeats.

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