719. Lanius cristatus cristatus

(719) Lanius cristatus cristatus Linn.
Lanius cristatus cristatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 300.
Nearly all, or all, the old references to the breeding of this bird in India refer to another race and are, therefore, not quoted here.
For what it is worth, however, I give my description (Ibis, 1895, p. 330) of some nests taken by me in North Cachar. The birds trapped on these nests, with the exception of one or two in the Tring Museum, are now in the Bulgarian Museum. The identifica¬tion has been accepted as correct, and it may be that casual birds do stop and breed on the Barail Range at odd times, instead of passing on to Siberia. Eggs and nests agree perfectly well with those of the Siberian birds. My description is as follows:—
“This is one of the commonest birds in Cachar during the Cold Weather, and a certain number of birds stay every year and breed on the ranges to the East of the district, the Eastern spurs of the Barail Range, which are very lofty, appearing to be their favourite resorts. All the nests that I have seen of this bird have been much the same in construction as those of Lanius nigriceps, from which they could only be discriminated by their rather smaller size and, sometimes, by their proportionately more shallow shapes. They are neat, compact and very strongly put together cups, very nearly hemispherical in shape, the depth being a little in excess in pro¬portion to their diameter. They are made entirely of grass, the inner portion being made of strips of sun-grass blades as well as the finer stems, and the outer part entirely of grasses in flower, so used that the flowering ends are kept outside, giving the nest, at a short distance, much the appearance of a ball of vegetable down. The measurements of the exterior of the nest vary a good deal, according to the amount of material used ; thus some are as much as 4 inches in diameter by about 2.1/2 deep, while others are little over 3 inches at their widest parts. The egg-chamber may roughly be said to measure, on an average, 2.3/4 by 2 inches or less in depth.
“As a rule four eggs are laid but sometimes five are to be found, and once a nest was brought to me containing six young birds.”
Many years after this was written I found the same circumstances occurring in the Khasia Hills, where in some years several pairs of birds remained to breed instead of migrating with the main body. In some Summers not. a pair was to be found, whilst in other years, as in both 1907 and 1909, at least two pairs remained and nested.
In these hills the nests could be distinguished at a glance from those of the very common Black-headed Shrike by their much smaller size and by their seldom having fluffy grass on the outside of the nest.
At Hungrum I took one nest on the 22nd April, but the breeding months for the few birds who remained to nest seemed to be May and June. In the Yenesei District Smirnoff found them breeding in June and July.
I have personally only taken clutches of four and five eggs and once seen six young, but in Siberia six eggs are often laid.
A few eggs could hardly be distinguished from very small eggs of the Black-headed Shrike but, typically, they are longer, narrower eggs, much more compressed and pointed at the smaller end. In colour they run through the same variations but, in most eggs, the spots are not so bold or distinct, are more numerous, and are scattered more over the whole surface. In most eggs, also, the rings are not so boldly defined at the larger end.
Sixty eggs average 21.8 x 16.9 mm. : maxima 24.0 x 17.1 and 23.0 x 18.0 mm. ; minima 20.0 x 17.0 and 22.0 x 15.2 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
719. Lanius cristatus cristatus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Brown Shrike
Lanius cristatus cristatus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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