369. WOODCHAT SHRIKE.
Lanius auriculatus, Mull. Natursyst. Suppl, p. 71 (1776) ; Dresser iii. p. 407, pl. 151 ; Newton, i. p. 215 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 283 ; L. pomeranus, Sparrm. Mus. Carls, pl. i. (1786) ; Saunders, p. 153 ; L. rufus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 302 (1788) , Naum. ii. p. 22, pl. 51, figs. 1, 2 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 70 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 16 ; Hewitson, i. p. 72, pl. 20, fig. 2 ; L. rutilus, Lath. Lilford, ii. p. 75, pl. 35.
Pie-grieche rousse, French ; Picanso, Portug. ; Alcaudon real Span. ; Averla capirossa, Ital. ; Rothkopfiger Wurger, Germ. ; Roodkoppige Klaauwier, Dutch ; Rhovedet Tornskade, Dan. Krasnogolovi Sorokoput, Russ.
Male ad. (Spain). Forehead, fore-crown and a patch through the eye continued down the side of the neck deep black ; a spot on the lores white ; rest of crown and nape chestnut-red ; fore part of back, wings, and tail black ; an alar patch and tips of secondaries and all but the middle tail- feathers white ; base of tail-feathers also white ; lower back grey ; rump, upper tail-coverts, and scapulars white ; chin, throat, and under parts white with a slight fulvous tinge ; bill, feet, and iris brown. Culmen 0.65, wing 3.9, tail 3.35, tarsus 0.9 inch. The female differs in being much duller in colour. The young bird has the upper parts brown, more rufous on the crown and back, and barred with ochre and black, the wings and tail brownish black, the chin white, the rest of the under parts fulvous, barred with narrow brown vermiculations.
Hab. Central and Southern Europe, of accidental occurrence as far north as Denmark and England, ranging east to Persia ; wintering in Africa as far south as Nubia and the Gold Coast. Of doubtful occurrence in Sind.
Like its allies it frequents the open country and fields where bushes and trees abound, and is not so often seen perched in exposed places, but keeps more to the foliage. It feeds chiefly on insects, and but seldom on weakly young birds. Its usual note is krahts, krahts, and its alarm-note grack, kjack, kjack, and it is an excellent mimic. Its nest is a neat but slight structure composed of plant-stems, frequently of a sweet¬smelling species, and is placed on a bush or in the fork of a tree, usually at no great altitude. The eggs, from 4 to 6 in number, are usually deposited in May, and closely resemble those of Lanius collurio, but the red variety is comparatively rare.
369. Lanius auriculatus
369. WOODCHAT SHRIKE.