Fiscal Shrike

Fiscal Shrike 1

I was hanging out the washing when I heard some birds giving an alarm call in the neighbour’s tree. There was quite a raucous going on, so I knew the birds were trying to defend their nests or chicks from a predator.

Perched right on the top of the tree was a bird that was causing all the trouble. However, squint as I might, it was too far away for me to make out properly. I thought maybe it was a bird that I haven’t seen around our garden for a very long time.

I went back to the house to fetch my trusty Canon camera and took a few shots on maximum zoom, hoping that when I enlarged the photos later on my laptop I’d be able to make out what the bird was.

Fiscal Shrike 2

And there you have it. It was a Fiscal Shrike, also known as the Butcher Bird here.

He was a little tricky to identify from underneath, as you can only see the white chest and a little of the black back and head. The adults have a lovely white stripe in their wing feathers when seen sideways on, or a white V shape from above.

We used to have a resident mating pair in our garden. The young chick would be seen begging for food, sitting on the fence, or the pole of the rabbit enclosure.

Fiscal Shrike 3

The photo above shows what I was working with and why the images are blurred. Yes, the Fiscal Shrike is sitting right on top of that tree!

I know they get a bad rap, as they eat other birds’ eggs and chicks, but they are beautiful and I have missed them.


You can listen to a short clip of the Fiscal Shrike singing here.


26 thoughts on “Fiscal Shrike

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much πŸ™‚
      I didn’t want to labour the point in my post, but it is called the butcher bird because it impales its prey on thorns etc to store the food to eat later.
      Still a beautiful bird. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  1. anitashope

    Not familiar with that bird here. He does seem to have pretty markings. I have a similar bird I am not happy with as they are bully birds as well plus they are of the larger yard type birds at 7.5″. European Starling. Beautiful bird in color but has the same personality of breaking up others nests and destroying eggs. I shoe him away from the feeder when I see him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Herman

    Great post and very interesting! I never heard about this bird… I wonder how Mr. Bowie will react when he hears the singing bird… πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you very much. πŸ™‚
      I wonder if Mr Bowie will be fooled by a recording? πŸ˜€
      I used to try to get my dogs to react to a recording of wolves howling. They did look up, but I guess it just didn’t sound right to them! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Garfield Hug

        I learn all these great nature stuff from you and enjoy it. The bird featured in the clip…is that an adult or a “chick” as the zoom in photo of the bird seems rather big compared to the fella up come. Come to think of it, it looks like a penguin except it is shorter and chubbierπŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      2. scifihammy Post author

        Thank you so much! πŸ˜€
        The Fiscal Shrike in the video clip is an adult, as it has black and white plumage, The chicks are greyer. It is not a big bird.


  3. oldmainer

    Never heard of this bird, but sounds kind of pretty. Had a similar incident with an uproar in the trees down the street from my house. Turns out it was a barn owl.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Murphy's Law

    Awwwww, he doesn’t look like a predator!! But Mother Nature has her own way of controlling things, doesn’t she? What a great shot you captured Sci.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. scifihammy Post author

      Thank you πŸ™‚
      Yes, there seem to be a few types of Shrike, so I’m sure they are similar.
      Apparently Shrikes can mimic other bird songs, so you get quite a variety, apart from the familiar sort of shriek I am use to hearing! πŸ™‚


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