Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

The Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) occurs in large parts of southern Africa (South Africa, Nambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Angola). It can be identified quite easily by its strikingly read underparts combined with black upperparts. Both sexes share this colour patter, but a rare form, formerly believed to be a separate species, occurs in which the breast is yellow instead of crimson. Throughout its range the birds favour thornveld, semi-arid scrub, and dry rivercourses as habitats. They prey mostly on insects which they seek on trees and bushes, but also on the ground where they can be seen quite regularly to feed on ants (or fallen fruits). I have photographed this colourful species in the Etosha National Park in Namibia (February 2007).

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Crimson-breasted Shrike

7 responses to “Crimson-breasted Shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus)

  1. What a beauty! It must have been thrilling to see and photograph this one.

    The Loggerhead Shrike that we have here in the USA is quite vicious, and nick-named the “Butcher-bird” as it impales its prey on thorns, or barbed wire. Then it decorates its prey with feathers, and bills to attract a mate. You can tell where the Shrike has been by the hanging entrails on the fences, and power wires.
    This breed that you captured so beautifully in this series sounds quite tame in comparison.

    I wish we had more birds with red in their coloring here.

  2. I probably learned of the Shrike bird after reading one of my favourite Sci Fi books by Dan Simmons, Hyperion. A powerful character in it , The Shrike, impaled people on a massive metal tree of thorns. Just saying The Shrike gives me chills.

    This bird however looks very amiable and pretty. And aptly named with that crimson breast!!

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting species.

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