Brown Shrikes

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

Brown Shrikes

The Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus, is a small passerine bird in the shrike family.

It was formerly often considered conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species) with the closely-related Red-backed Shrike, L. collurio, and Isabelline Shrike, L. isabellinus.

Distribution / Range

This bird breeds across central and eastern Asia. It is migratory, wintering south to India, southeast Asia and Indonesia.

In winter, Brown Shrike is found in secondary forest, often close to human habitation. This species is a rare vagrant to Europe, and has been recorded in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nesting / Breeding

A wide range of habitats is used for breeding, from taiga and deciduous forest to semi-desert. It builds its nest in a tree or bush, laying 2-6 eggs.

Sunbathing Brown Shrike

Diet / Feeding

The food is mainly insects and small birds and mammals, caught by a sally from a prominent perch. This is a typical shrike hunting technique.


Brown Shrike is a small shrike. Like its relatives, it is long-tailed, and perches quite upright.

The adult male’s upper parts and crown are darkish brown. The face is white with the typical shrike black “bandit-mask” through the eye. Underparts are yellowish buff, although the hues vary somewhat between the different races.

Females are less contrasted and have a greyer crown.

Immature Brown Shrikes are scalloped on the underparts.

Copyright: Wikipedia. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from

Brown Shrike - from the back
Brown Shrike eating insect
Brown Shrike from the front
Brown Shrike
Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.