713. Lanius nigriceps longicaudatus

(713) Lanius nigriceps longicaudatus O.-Grant.
Lanius nigriceps longicaudatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 294.
The present race of Black-headed Shrike is found within our limits only in Tenasserim, and it occurs also in central South Siam to the extreme South of peninsular Siam, Mackenzie and Hopwood taking nests with eggs near Mergui in May and June, while one of my collectors took others for me near Amherst.
Herbert (Journ. Siam Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. vi, p. 107, 1923) gives the following interesting description of its breeding :—
“This is the only true Shrike found nesting in the neighbourhood of Bangkok, and it is very plentiful in the paddy-fields or other open parts of this country.
“The usual nesting site is a small tree or bush in scrub-jungle, or not infrequently a solitary ‘Makam-tate’ tree (Pithecolobium dulce) out among the paddy-fields. The nest is built at 10 to 20 feet from the ground, and is a deep cup-shaped structure, composed of grass-stems and fine creepers firmly packed together, with a neat lining of roots and grasses. May and June is the nesting season.
“The eggs show considerable variation in, shape, but they are generally broad ovals slightly compressed towards one end, although elongated ovals are not uncommon. In coloration there are two types, but they are quite distinct and are never found in the same nest. The commoner one has a pale green or greenish-white ground, with specks and spots of sage-green or brownish-olive, intermingled with a few pale purple spots ; these take the form of an irregular zone about the large end, with only a few markings on the lower parts. The other type has a pale stone or salmon-pink ground¬colour, with blurred spots and specks of dull red and pale purple, and in this case also the markings are in the same form, though they are less numerous than in the previous type. Fresh eggs of the latter type have a very beautiful colouring before they arc blown, and often have quite an apricot tint.
“The shell is very fine and rather frail for the size of the egg, and there is little or no gloss. The size varies considerably.
“Five eggs usually are laid, sometimes only four.
“The eggs of the red type in my collection are distinctly smaller than those of the green, so it will be interesting to watch whether this is always the case.”
Williamson also took a good many nests round Bangkok in country and positions similar to those described by Herbert.
The eggs in my series cannot be distinguished from those of the Indian Black-headed Shrike but, probably because there is only a small series, the variation is much less. The two red clutches taken by Herbert are both of the Dicrurus type of egg, and could be duplicated by many eggs of the Dicrurus leucophoeus group. I have seen one or two clutches only of this type among the eggs of the Indian race, but they are so rare that one might almost call them abnormal.
Forty eggs average 24.0 x 18.3 mm. : maxima 27.5 x 19.0 and 24.0 x 19.1 mm. ; minima 20.3 x 17.0 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: 
713. Lanius nigriceps longicaudatus
Spp Author: 
O. grant.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Siam Black Headed Shrike
Lanius schach longicaudatus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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