344. PALLID SHRIKE.
Lanius elegans, Swains. Faun. Bor. Amer. ii. p. 122 (1831) ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 251, pl. vii ; Dresser, ix. p. 167 ; L. dealbatus, De Fil. Rev. and Mag. de Zool. 1853, p. 289 ; Gadow, tom. cit., p. 250, pl. vi ; L. assimilis, A. and L. Brehm, J.f.O., 1854 p. 147 ; Bogd. Sorokop. Russk. Faun. p. 160 ; Gadow, tom. cit., p. 249 ; L. hemileucurus, Finsch, and Hartl. Vog. Ost. Afr. p. 239 (1870) ; Gadow, tom. cit., p. 249 ; L. lahtora, (part.), Dresser, iii. p. 381, pl. 146, (lower figure) ; Rey. J.f.O. 1896, Taf. vi. fig. 6. (eggs).
Male ad. (N. Africa.). Upper parts pale blue-grey, under parts white ; lesser wing-coverts entirely grey ; alar patch rather large ; a narrow frontal band, lores, and a broad patch passing through and behind the eye deep black, above narrowly margined with white ; wings black, the secondaries with the inner webs chiefly white ; outer tail-feather white, the next white with a black shaft line, the next two black broadly tipped with white, the two middle ones black with a narrow white tip ; bill and legs blackish horn ; iris brown. Culmen 0.8, wing 4.1, tail 4.4, tarsus 1.2 inch.
Hab. North Africa, Asia Minor, Transcaspia, Turkestan, Afghanistan, straying as far east as the Punjab.
In habits it does not differ from its near allies and inhabits open bush-covered localities, desert places, and the plains in preference to the hills. It feeds on insects, especially on beetles and locusts, occasionally on small mammals and birds. Its flight is laboured and it usually flies low, from bush to bush. Its call-note is loud and sharp and it is an excellent mimic. Its nest is placed on a bush or low tree, is constructed of fine twigs, plant-stems, and grass-bents, well lined with fine bents, wool, plant-cotton, and small rags, and the eggs 5 to 7 in number, are pale greenish yellow or dirty greyish white with underlying dull lilac shell-markings and liver-brown surface- spots and blotches, in size averaging about 1.0 by 0.75.
344. Lanius elegans
344. PALLID SHRIKE.