(711) Lanius collurioides.
The Burmese Shrike.
Lanius collurioides Less., Voy. Belang., p. 250 (1834) (Pegu); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 462.
Vernacular names. Hnet-beloo (Burmese).
Description. Lores, forehead and ear-coverts black; the black of the forehead changes to dark grey on the crown and then to paler grey on the nape; back, rump, upper tail-coverts and scapulars deep chestnut; central tail-feathers black with very narrow white tips ; the next three pairs with rather broader tips, the penultimate pair white, with the inner web broadly black; the outermost pair all white with black shafts; wing-coverts nearly black with chestnut edges; primary-coverts and quills black, the latter with a broad white patch at the base; secondaries black edged with chestnut; under plumage white, sometimes almost pure with the faintest fulvous tinge and, sometimes, with a strong fulvous-chestnut wash.
Colours of soft parts. Iris pale reddish brown to dark red; bill horny-brown, black at the tip and on the culmen, fleshy at the base and on the gonys; legs and feet slate-grey to almost black.
Measurements. Total length about 220 mm.; wing 82 to 90 mm.; tail 86 to 95 mm.; tarsus about 23 mm.; culmen 13 to 14 mm.
Nestling. Above fulvous-grey washed with chestnut on the back and barred with dull black; the lower plumage is dull white with narrow bars of dull brown on breast, flanks and abdomen; the ear-coverts are brown.
Young birds are grey above changing to dull pale chestnut on the back and rump; below fulvous-white washed with chestnut on the flanks.
Distribution. Cachar, Manipur and Hills South of the Brahmaputra to Tenasserim in the South, Annam, Siam and there is also a specimen from South-West China in the British Museum collection.
Nidification. The Burmese Shrike breeds in the hills of South Assam, Burma and Siam etc., between 3,000 and 6,000 feet in the months of April to June, a few birds laying in the end of March. Harington describes the nest as " neatly made of leaves, lichen and feathers etc., covered with cobwebs, and lined with fine grass. The size of the nest varies a good deal, if placed in between branches it is much smaller and matches the tree-trunk, if concealed by leaves it is much larger." Other nests found by him later in the Bhamo Hills were made principally of grass. The eggs are of many types, the ground being white, cream, pink-buff or pale greenish and the marks consist of blotches, spots and specks of reddish brown or grey-brown with secondary markings of neutral tint or pale lavender ; generally they are distributed in a dense ring at the larger end and are sparse elsewhere but the distribution varies greatly. One hundred eggs average 21.1 X 16.4 mm.: maxima 25.0 X 17.0 and 22.l x l8.0 mm.; mimima 18.3 X 15.3 and 19.8 x 15.0 mm.
Habits. This handsome Shrike is resident throughout its range, but in the winter wanders lower down the hills almost to the foothills and in summer is found up to 8,000 feet. Except during the early part of the breeding-season they are bold birds not shunning observation but at this particular time they are very shy and secretive. They keep to open country or thin forest and are common in the vicinity of villages and in the cultivation round them. Their song is sweet and full and they have a large variety of other notes, both harsh and musical.