(723) Lanius tigrinus.
The Thick-billed Shrike.
Lanius tigrinus Drapiez, Diet. Class. Hist. Nat., xii, p. 523 (1828) (Java); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 470.
Vernacular names. Mozu (Japan).
Description. Forehead, lores, round the eyes and ear-coverts black; crown, nape, neck and upper back dark grey; lower back, scapulars, wing-coverts, rump and upper tail-coverts chestnut barred with black; tail reddish brown, obsoletely barred with darker and all but the central feathers tipped with white, preceded by a narrow irregular mark of blackish; below white; the posterior flanks barred brown and dull chestnut; the thighs barred black and white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; edges of eyelids black; more or less of both mandibles pale plumbeous or pale dull blue ; legs and feet pale plumbeous blue, lavender-blue, sometimes almost smalt-blue (Hume and Davison).
Measurements. Total length about 175 mm.; wing 81 to 85 mm.; tail 65 to 71 mm.; tarsus about 24 mm.; culmen about 15 mm.
Young. Whole upper surface dull chestnut barred throughout "with black; eye-streak absent or very small; below white, the breast and flanks squamated narrowly with blackish and tinged with cream.
Distribution. From Ussuri to Korea, Northern China, Japan. In Winter to South China, the Indo-Chinese countries and Siam, Tenasserim, Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.
Nidification. The Thick-billed Shrike breeds in some numbers in Japan, where Alan Owston's collectors found their nests both on Mt. Fuji and also in Shensu. The nests are described as the usual deep cups made of very miscellaneous articles but chiefly of grass and small twigs and they appear to be most often placed in low cherry and other fruit-trees in gardens and orchards. The eggs number four to six and are like those of Lanius collurio, the pink type being more numerous than the others. As a series they are bright, richly coloured eggs with bold markings. Fifty eggs average 22.2 x 16.7 mm.: maxima 24.1 x 17.2 and 22.0 x 17.8 mm. ; minima 21.2 x l6.7 and 22.4 x 15.3 mm.
They breed during May and June.
Habits. Those of the genus but this Shrike prefers well-wooded though open country and is not a frequenter of the deserts and more arid stony hills. It is often found round about villages and cultivation. Alan Owston recorded it as very rarely breeding in Japan except in certain years, when it was, on the contrary, very numerous during the Summer, especially frequenting orchards. It has a sweet and powerful song.