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Magpie Shrike

Urolestes melanoleucus


This bird belongs to the Laniidae family. Length: 34-50 cm including the tail – Male tail: 22-35 cm – Female tail: 21-34 cm Weight: M: 55-97 g – F: 71-96 g The adult has black and white plumage with very long, graduated tail. Head and mantle are glossy black. The scapulars are white. The rump is V-shaped and greyish-white, conspicuous in flight. On the black upperwing, tertials, secondaries, some primaries and the greater upperwing-coverts are black with white tips. In flight, the white patch near the primary bases is well visible. The long tail is black. On the underparts, chin, throat and breast are black with brownish gloss. Belly and flanks are duller black. Undertail-coverts are black. On the head, the bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are black.


Mixed woodland, dry season


There are at least four subspecies: aequatorialis, angolensis, melanoleucus and expressa. They differ mainly in tail size, intensity of the glossy black parts of plumage, and variable extent of the white patches. It is found in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its natural habitats are dry savanna, moist savanna, and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.

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1 Comment

Sckel 7 years ago

So lonely.

Spotted by

Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality, Limpopo, South Africa

Spotted on Jul 21, 2013
Submitted on Jul 28, 2013

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