477. Lanius tephronotus.
The Grey-backed Shrike.
Collurio tephronotus, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 43; Hume, N. & E. p. 171. Lanius tephronotus ( Vigors), Blyth, Cat. p. 151; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 166; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 403; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 47 ; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 643; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 202; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 267 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 374 ; id. Cat. no. 258; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 264; Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 260 ; Oates, B. B. i, p. 249 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 88 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 325.
Bhadraya, Nep. Hills; Bayaha tentha, Nep. plains; Sakrik-pho, Lepch.; Totem, Bhut.
Coloration. Forehead and a broad band through the eye to the ear-coverts deep black; crown, nape, hind neck, back, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts dark bluish grey; rump and upper tail-coverts chestnut; tail dark brown, obsoletely cross-rayed and the feathers margined with rufous; median and greater coverts, secondaries and tertiaries blackish, broadly margined with pale rufous; primary-coverts and primaries blackish, very narrowly margined with rufous; chin, throat, upper breast, and middle of abdomen white ; remainder of lower plumage ferruginous.
Birds with signs of immaturity about them, such as bars, have the whole upper plumage suffused with rufous.
Nestlings have the upper plumage rufous barred with black ; the eye-band barely indicated; throat whitish ; lower plumage rufous barred with black.'
Bill black; base of lower mandible yellowish horny; iris dark brown ; feet and claws black (Scully).
Length 9.5; tail 5; wing 4.2 ; tarsus 1.1; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. A winter visitor to the Himalayas between the Sutlej valley and Assam, to the plains of Bengal and Assam, the hill-tracts south of the Brahmaputra, Manipur, Cachar, Tipperah, and Burma, extending down to about Pahpoon on the Salween river. I failed to meet with this species in Pegu, but Blyth records it from Arrakan. In summer this Shrike appears to ascend the Himalayas, to breed from 5000 to 9000 feet, or even higher, and to penetrate into Tibet and Western China.
Habits, &c. A nest found at Bhim Tal in Kumaun, on the 28th May, by Colonel G. P. L. Marshall contained five eggs, and was in a 'bush about three feet from the ground. There is little that is trustworthy on record about the nidification of this Shrike.