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The shrikes, bush-shrikes and helmet-shrikes were formerly all classed together in one family, but have been split into separate bird families (shrikes, bush-shrikes) and the helmet-shrikes have been moved into the Vangidae family. After a brief description of each of these groups, the ringing numbers and longevities will be presented.
The true shrikes (family Laniidae)
The true shrikes (family Laniidae) are predatory passerines – the family name derives from the Latin word for “butcher”, referring to their feeding habits. Shrikes are known for catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling these on thorns, barbed-wire fences, or other sharp points. This allows them to tear the prey into smaller pieces, and serves as a cache for feeding on later. Most shrike species are found in Eurasia and Africa, although two species occur in North America.
The bush-shrikes (family Malaconotidae)
The bush-shrikes (family Malaconotidae) are insectivorous species are found in Africa, in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. The bush-shrikes are either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive. The bush-shrikes include the Brubru, puffbacks, tchagras and boubous.
The helmet-shrikes (family Vangidae)
The helmet-shrikes are now separated from that group into the family Vangidae. These African birds are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in feeding habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush or tree. They are colourful species with the distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name. Helmet-shrikes are noisy and sociable birds, some of which breed in loose colonies.
Ringing of the shrike groups
Relative to commonly ringed birds in southern Africa, few shrikes have been ringed over the last 7 decades. The highest ringing totals are for the widespread Common Fiscal, with over 7000 ringed. This species also has the highest recapture number although the Southern Boubou has a slightly higher recapture rate (12.6%). The Southern Boubou has the highest longevity record in the SAFRING database, at 16 years.
Table – ringing data for shrikes from the SAFRING database, extracted 5/7/2019.
|Species||Latin||Ringed / retraps / recovered||Longevity||Ringno|
|Lesser Grey Shrike||Lanius minor||350 / 3 / 0||0y 0m 8d||CV38328|
|Common Fiscal||Lanius collaris||7129 / 834 / 89||12y 7m 2d||BB73315|
|Red-backed Shrike||Lanius collurio||2431 / 144 / 8||7y 6m 0d||58219185|
|Southern Boubou||Laniarius ferrugineus||2458 / 309 / 23||16y 0m 16d||4A13311|
|Swamp Boubou||Laniarius bicolor||103 / 10 / 1||2y 7m 23d||BB70663|
|Crimson-breasted Shrike||Laniarius atrococcineus||1214 / 79 / 6||8y 2m 17d||494589|
|Southern Puffback||Dryoscopus cubla||2246 / 205 / 9||8y 0m 21d||BD13331|
|Southern Tchagra||Tchagra tchagra||229 / 20 / 1||5y 0m 3d||CC73515|
|Three-streaked Tchagra||Tchagra australis||1965 / 169 / 6||7y 0m 19d||CV50705|
|Black-crowned Tchagra||Tchagra senegala||309 / 24 / 1||3y 1m 29d||469906|
|Marsh Tchagra||Tchagra minuta||12 / 1 / 0||0y 11m 23d||BE46526|
|Olive Bush Shrike||Telophorus olivaceus||578 / 34 / 0||9y 8m 24d||BB95191|
|Orange-breasted Bush Shrike||Telophorus sulfureopectus||617 / 57 / 1||6y 11m 15d||BE33105|
|Black-fronted Bush Shrike||Telophorus nigrifrons||7 / 0 / 0|
|Gorgeous Bush Shrike||Telophorus quadricolor||176 / 13 / 0||4y 4m 5d||CV28603|
|Bokmakierie||Telophorus zeylonus||1311 / 118 / 13||8y 1m 16d||4A50927|
|Grey-headed Bush Shrike||Malaconotus blanchoti||310 / 17 / 1||4y 0m 10d||460954|
|Long-tailed Shrike||Corvinella melanoleuca||916 / 84 / 2||2y 2m 23d||D44690|
|Yellow-spotted Nicator||Nicator gularis||135 / 6 / 0||3y 9m 29d||4H53721|
|White-tailed Shrike||Lanioturdus torquatus||158 / 9 / 0||4y 10m 10d||BH49364|
|White Helmet-shrike||Prionops plumatus||1226 / 9 / 0||5y 0m 29d||BC33931|
|Red-billed Helmet-shrike||Prionops retzii||107 / 1 / 0|
|Chestnut-fronted Helmet-shrike||Prionops scopifrons||28 / 0 / 0|
|White-crowned Shrike||Eurocephalus anguitimens||429 / 22 / 1||6y 1m 25d||594922|
|Brubru||Nilaus afer||287 / 15 / 1||8y 6m 5d||BC26973|
|Fulleborn’s Black Boubou||Laniarius fuelleborni||10 / 1 / 0|