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Thread: Balearic Woodchat Shrike ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Balearic Woodchat Shrike ?


    I attached two pictures of a strange looking potential Balearic Woodchat Shrike (ssp badius).

    I have taken this picture last week in Camargue (south of France) where this sub-species was regularly seen.

    This bird present some features typical of badius :
    - lack of white at the base of primaries,
    - i find the bill quite large,
    - the lores are very white,

    but, it also present some features against badius :
    -The rufous of the rear crown and hindneck is darker,
    - It have a broad black forehead.

    How do you find this birds?

    Finally i have a general question linking to badius identification:
    Have you ever seen a senator without white at the base of primaries?

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Galway city, Ireland


    Hi Benoit,
    I have just seen these pics in the gallery, and, on seeing the flight shot, my initial reaction (before reading the caption) was that the bird looked good for a badius.
    I agree with you that the limited amount of pale at the primary bases (only visible on the spread wing, but this is well within the limits of badius) and thick bill favour a Balearic Woodchat Shrike, and I would also imagine that, despite senator being the commoner form locally, it's more likely that you should come across a badius with a thicker black forehead band than a senator with no pale primary patch and such a thick bill. Mind you, I've only seen one badius, so lack a 'feel' for the variation within the taxon.

  3. #3
    Member chris butterworth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    west kirby, wirral


    Hi Benoit,
    I'm in Mallorca at the moment and have seen a couple of Woodchat Shrike very similar to the one in the pics. A lot of people, me included, tend to forget that there is a surprising amount of individual variation in some taxa, particularly in those with bold field markings.
    Birds, Beer, Baying-at-the-moon and Bikes. Isn't alliteration wonderful.

  4. #4
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK



    There is no doubt that this is a badius Woodchat Shrike.

    The colour of the remiges indicates that it is a first-summer bird, and the amount of pale at the base ofthe primaries is typical of 1-s badius. You have some concerns about the darkness of the head and in particular the breadth of the black on the forehead, but these are within the variation for badius.

    Below are two images. the first, a cropped image from Tring of a male badius with a wide black forehead; the second a male in Morroco in April 2006.

    There are several (annual?) records from the south (Mediterranean coast) of France, and for my article in British Birds I note that 'Arrivals start to appear from the end of March and continue into late May'. Still, a nice find.

    Brian S
    Attached Images Attached Images

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