Morning Dog Walk: Young Woodchat Shrike Learning To Hunt

I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

The local Woodchat Shrikes have been very succesful at breeding this year. There are many youngsters flying around chasing their parents begging for food. This morning I sat and watched this youngster learning to dive from an electricity cable and catch its prey. I didn’t see it catch anything, but practice makes perfect! It’s parents were close by watching.

Young Woodchat Shrike

Like all Shrikes, it is known as the “Butcher Bird” as it catches it’s prey (large insects, amphibians and even other smaller birds!) and usually hangs it on branches or barbed-wire for later consumption. Although, I have not seen this behaviour locally even though the area is rich with both the Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrikes. Even the word Lanius in its scientific name of Lanius senator comes from the latin word for butcher.

Young Woodchat Shrike

They are migratory and will over-winter in Africa. The male has a prominent chestnut coloured head whereas the female and young are a little less striking.

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