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Thread: Is it Isabelline or a brown-shrike with white patch?

  1. #1
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    Default Is it Isabelline or a brown-shrike with white patch?

    Hello birders,

    I joined the forum recently.
    I would like to ask for your suggestion.
    In a reclaimed-land in western Japan, a strange shrike is observed in these days.
    You can find photos from birders' blogs, for example,
    http://blog.goo.ne.jp/hosihisi57/e/3...e62387ecb962c4
    (I just googled to find the photo)
    It looks like Lanius cristatus superciliosus from colouring, but have a distinct white patch on primaries.
    A few skilled birders are claiming that this is L. isabellinus.
    But supercilium of L. isabellinus isabellinus is not so broad as this individual (Worfolk 2000).
    L. i. phoenicuroides has distinct supercilium, but their distribution is so western to come to Far East (Worfolk 2000).
    Is it truly a L. isabellinus with supercilium or a L. c. superciliosus with white patches?
    I appreciate any comments.

    Thanks in advance,

    Masaya Toyokawa

  2. #2

  3. #3
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    The 'bull-necked', heavy-headed structure in the first set of images indicate Brown Shrike and this is confirmed by the last three images in the second set of images, which show the tail (and individual feathers) to be narrow and, critically, that the outermost tail-feather is significantly shorther than the penultimate feather. Although unusual, it is not unknown for Brown Shrikes to show a white primary patch.

    Alan
    Last edited by ARD; February 23rd, 2012 at 10:18 AM. Reason: Corrected 'last two' images to 'last three'

  4. #4
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    For some further comment on Brown Shrike with visible white primary patch, see this item on Birds Korea (and Fig. 16). Also (though with relatively small patch) see here (superciliosus) and here (lucionensis) on OBC gallery. Back in the early 1980s, when I was preparing a paper on (primarily) Isabelline Shrike but with brief comments on Brown (British Birds, 1982, 75: 395-406), both Mark Beaman and Paul Jepson informed me that a few Brown Shrikes may show a small white primary patch.

    Alan

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    Having another look at the photographs, it strikes me that the tail colour looks odd for Brown Shrike. It appears to have a decidedly grey hue, with a darker tip. In this respect the tail recalls that of Bull-headed Shrike (see here). It seems a long shot but, as Bull-headed also has a white primary patch and hybridisation between Bull-headed and Brown (though of form lucionensis) has been claimed (see here), it raises perhaps the possibility of some introgression?

    Alan

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the right-to-the-point comment on the length of the outermost tail feather!
    And Figs 16 & 17 of the article on Birds Korea is similar to the shrike.
    Unfortunately some skilled birders in Japan seem to neglect length of feathers and only rely on colours.

    thanks a lot,
    Masaya

  7. #7
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    Beautiful bird, and in my opinion this intriguing individual is a hybrid indeed. Like Alan my best guess would be bucephalus x cristatus (the bird look rather intermediate in several respects). Isabelline can be ruled out for several reasons, not the least the colour of the tail...

  8. #8
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    agree in hybrid !

    On a different matter: do you have or know somebody who could provide me photos of Lesser kestrel from Asia ???? that would be msot welcome for a forthcoming paper on that species for Bulletin of BOC and other journals....
    Also, do you have photos of Numenius arquata ssp. from Asia for a paper on Numenius to be published soon on British Birds ??

    thanks

    Andrea

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by macrourus View Post
    agree in hybrid !

    On a different matter: do you have or know somebody who could provide me photos of Lesser kestrel from Asia ???? that would be msot welcome for a forthcoming paper on that species for Bulletin of BOC and other journals....
    Also, do you have photos of Numenius arquata ssp. from Asia for a paper on Numenius to be published soon on British Birds ??

    thanks

    Andrea
    At the risk of hijacking this thread, there are pics of a Lesser Kestrel in Singapore here: http://www.pbase.com/wkcheah/falco_n...lesser_kestrel.

    And I have 100s of pics of Numenius arquata - both variegatus, phaeopus and every shade in between from Malaysia. PM me for more details.

    Dave

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