(721) Lanius cristatus isabellinus.
The Pale Brown Shrike.
Lanius isabellinus Hempr. & Ehr., Symb. Phys., Aves, fol. e, note (1829) (Kampada, Arabia) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 467.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Above like L. c. cristatus, but much paler; no grey on forehead and supercilium absent or, if present, very small and fulvous in colour; below rosy-buff from chin to under tail-coverts, albescent on the middle of the abdomen.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black in the breeding-season, dark horny with paler, more fleshy, base and gonys in the winter; legs and feet horny- to slaty-brown.
Measurements. "Wing 86 to 94 mm.; tail 64 to 79 mm.., 82 in one specimen; tarsus about 25 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm.
Nestling and Young like those of the Brown Shrike but much paler, the rosy tint of the lower parts is not visible in the young.
Distribution. Mongolian and Daurian Steppes to East Turkestan. In Winter South to Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, North-West India, Arabia and North-East Africa.
Nidification. The Pale Brown Shrike breeds in the mountains of Turkestan and Russian collectors have taken numerous nests. These are described as typical Shrikes nests, deep cups made of grass and twigs and lined with grass or vegetable down. The nests are usually placed in bushes and often quite low down. The eggs, which number four to six, are like those of the Red-backed Shrike, but smaller and the pink or cream type seems to predominate. Forty eggs average 23.5 x 16.8 mm.: maxima 24.1 x 17.2 and 24.0 x 17.3 mm.; minima 21.0 x 16.9 and 22.4x16.0 mm.
Habits. This is a Shrike of sandy and stony desert places with scanty grass and scrub cover. Its habits generally are those of the genus and call for no special remark.