basic information

Turkestan Shrike

Lanius phoenicuroides (Schalow, 1875)

Туркестанский жулан | Қызылқұйрық тағанақ

Sulutor, Zhetizhol ridge, Tien Shan
© Askar Isabekov


The adult Turkestan Shrike has rusty-brown or grey-brown crown. The forehead is off-white, black mask extended from the bill-base across the eyes to ear coverts. Over the bill the mask presents the narrow black strip separated white forehead from the bill-base. The supercilium is white extended to white forehead before the eyes. Behind the eyes the supercilium is some broader. The mantle and upperwings are grayish-brown, the uppertail and tail feathers are rusty but the central pair of the tail feathers is brownish tinged. The secondaries are brownish with broad buffy edges, the primaries are brownish too but with white bases forming the white speculum. The throat, breast, abdomen and undertail are off-white very slightly pinkish tinged. The flanks are buffy-whitish. The old females have slightly dimmer color; the younger females not only dimmer but also have scaly pattern on the breast and flanks. The ear covets are brownish but not black. The tail feathers are brownish-rusty not clear rusty. The adult males and females have brown eyes and black-brown bill and legs. Juveniles in first plumage have buffy-grey brownish scaly upperparts. The tail feathers are brownish-rusty with brown terminal band separated the pale patches on the ends. The flight feathers are brownish with broad pale edges. The mask is brown. Underparts are off-white with dark scaly pattern. Later in second plumage only a bit of bad visible mottles on the crown and uppertail are kept; on the mantle it are more less. On the wing coverts there is the specific pattern forming by the brown edges separated pale tips of feathers. Sizes: males – wing 87-95, tail 74-87; females – wing 88-94, tail 73-84 mm. Weight: 25.0-41.4 grams.


The Turkestan Shrike breeds and occurs on migration in the mountains and plains of the southern half of Kazakhstan. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the chapter "Races".


The Turkestan Shrike is a common breeding migrant. Inhabits riparian, saxaul and deciduous forest, bushy thickets, forest belts, gardens, groves near open areas and plantations, both on plains and in mountains up to 2500-2700 m in Western Tien Shan, where it lives in low juniper bushes with honeysuckle interspersed. During migration reed beds are also visited. Spring migration lasts from mid April to early May. The shrike breeds in separate pairs at 100-300 m one pair from the other. Nest is built in trees (poplar, apple-tree, apricot, saxaul, Russian olive, juniper) or bush (dog-rose, meadow-sweet, honeysuckle, willow, cherry, juniper, barberry) at 0.3 to 7m above curb. It is made from dry grass stems lined with soft grass. Clutches of 4-8, more often of 5-6 eggs are laid late in May to late June. Only female incubates for 15-16 days, while the male feeds her. Both parents feed juveniles, which fledge at 13-14 days in late June to mid August. Single brooded; lost nests are commonly replaced. Autumn migration begins in August, latest birds recorded in early September.


Lanius phoenicuroides phoenicuroides (Schalow, 1875)

    Description. The crown is rusty-brown (the intensity of crown color considerably varies from buffy-brown to dark- brown; some specimens have more or less grey tinge on the brown background color of the crown). The back is brown; the underparts are white usually rusty tinged. The white supercilium is narrow and neat. Generally the upperparts are darker, browner, less grey than on karelini.
    Distribution. Breeds in Tien Shan, Karatau, Dzhungarskiy Alatau and Tarbagatay. On migration, it probably occurs on nearby plains, but details have not been investigated.

Lanius phoenicuroides karelini (Bogdanov, 1881)

    Description. The crown is grey or greyish-buffy; the back is grey or light brownish-grey. The underparts are white light rusty tinged. The white supercilium is broad and washed. Generally the upperparts are paler, more greyish and less brown than on phoenicuroides.
    Distribution. Breeds and occurs on migration in the southern part of Kazakhstan plains from Trans-Aral area and lower Turgay river eastward to Zaysan depression and Tien Shan foothills; in north to Kirey and Tengiz lakes. Since 1998 its breeding has occurred in Naurzum Reserve. In 1996 and 2002 recorded on Buzachi peninsula and Ustyurt.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 3. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1970. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.



Lanius phoenicuroides phoenicuroides
(Schalow, 1875)
Lanius phoenicuroides karelini
(Bogdanov, 1881)


Lanius (phoenicuroides x collurio)

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