American Birds: 1978

First North American sighting of Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) and Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus), and second of Red-throated Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
King, B. D. Finch, R. Stallcup, and W. Russell
American Birds 1978. 32: 158-160.

Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus.

A single bird was observed on June 4, 5 and 6, 1977 about 0.7 km east of Gambell (St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea, Alaska). All observations were within a radius of 300 m on level gravel containing some grass up to 25 cm high, and adjacent to a boulder-strewn tundra-covered hillside. The bird chose exposed perches on knells and boulders. It was quite shy but well observed through several 20x - 40x spotting scopes at distances of 30 - 100 m by 27 observers. Its description from notes made in the field, is as follows: about 20 cm (8 in) in length; shrike-like in appearance, shape and behavior; tail rather long; upperparts brown with a rusty tinge, the crown (but not nape) and tail rufous- brown; black band through eye, separated from crown by narrow white eyebrow; no white patch or spot in wing; throat and belly white; breast bright buff; flanks rusty buff. King has seen this bird commonly in eastern and southern Asia.

Comparison of our field notes with specimens in the American Museum of Natural History suggests that our bird was most likely Lanius cristatus cristatus, which breeds in northeastern Siberia (but usually not reaching to the coast), to the mouth of the White Riover in Anadyr' Valley and upper reaches of the River Achay-Vayam in Koratskaya Zemlya, and occurs sporadically in Kamchatka (Dement've et al., 1968 and Ivanov, 1976). We could not see any white frontal band in the field. Lanius cristatus cristatus has a narrow inconspicuous frontal band whereas all three of the other races listed by Vaurie (1959) have broad, more conspicuous ones.