370. MASKED SHRIKE.
Lanius nubicus. Licht. Verz. Doubl, p. 47 (1823) ; Dresser, iii. p. 417, pl. 153 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 282 ; L. personatus, Temm. Pl. Col. pl. 246, fig. 2 (1824).
Male ad. (Asia Minor). Crown, lores, ear-coverts, hind neck, upper parts, wings, and central tail-feathers deep black ; scapulars, wing-speculum, and a broad band across the forehead with the supercilium pure white ; secondaries narrowly margined and tipped with white ; the outer tail- feathers white, the. next white with blackish internal margin, the third with external web and end white ; chin, throat, and under tail-coverts white, the flanks rich ferruginous, and the upper breast washed with ferruginous ; bill and feet black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.6 wing, 3.5, tail 3.3, tarsus 0.85 inch. The female is duller and has the upper parts greyish brown. The young resemble those of L. auriculatus, but are smaller, and have the upper parts rather browner.
Hab. South-eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and Palestine ; wintering in Northern Africa as far south as Abyssinia and Senegambia.
Frequents bush-covered plains, vineyards, and graveyards planted with tall cypresses, and is somewhat shy and retiring in its general habits. It feeds entirely on insects, chiefly coleoptera, and is said to utter a melodious but somewhat monotonous song, not unlike that of Hypolais olivetorum. It breeds in May and June, placing its nest in a tree in the centre of upright half dry boughs in such a manner that it is covered from above by a branch or pendant leaves, or else in the summit of a tree. The nest is compactly and closely con¬structed of fine roots and grass-bents, interwoven with threads, rags, etc., and lined with finer rootlets. The. eggs, 6 or 7 in number, are dull greenish buff spotted with dull brown or umber-brown, the markings frequently collected so as to form a wreath round the larger end. In size they average about 0.9 by 0.63.
370. Lanius nubicus
370. MASKED SHRIKE.