Lanius cristatus superciliosus

From: Birds of the Soviet Union: Vol VI by G. P. Dementev & N. A. Gladkov (1954)

Japanese Red-Backed Butcher-Bird or Shrike
Lanius cristatus superciliosus Latham


Range: Breeds in Japan on Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Tsushirna. In U.S.S.R. throughout Sakhalin. On migration in Maritime Territory (Askold, Sidemi), and in eastern China. Winters in Fukien, Kwantung and southern Yunnan in China, in Vietnam and other parts of Indochina (most westerly find in Banguara in peninsular part of Slam), on Malay Peninsula, and on islands of Sumatra, Java, Ball, Flores and Sumba. On passage in Maritime Territory (Askold Island on 15 May 1878; Taczanowski, 1891).

Habitational status: Breeding migrant. Arrives at Sakhalin late -- according to Gizenko, 6 early cases on May 3-6, late arrivals on May 18-25, Departs from Sakhalin, according to this author, between mid-October and early November (last at Korsakov in southern Sakhalin observed on 5 November 1947).

Biotope: As in other subspecies in river bottomlands, coppices and wood margins, brushwood and shrubbery, glades, etc. In Japan also in cultivated country.

Numerical status: In Sakhalin apparently common, but hardly numerous (boundaries of range).

Ecology: Information applying to Sakhalin fragmentary. Breeding: According to Gizenko, breeding season continues from late May (though more probably, as in Japan, from mid-July) until early July. Nestlings rise on wing in mid-August: 20 August 1949 in bottomland of Susui River in southern Sakhalin, brood with 4 subfledglinga with wings still not fully grown. At Alexandrovsk 1 nest lay in large tree (Nikolskii, 1889). In Japan nests in trees or more often in bushes, some 1-3 m above ground; construction of nest as in other butcher-birds. Clutch size 5-6 eggs; predominantly reddish with spots, but also some with greenish background. Egg sizes (28) 20.5 - 24.9 X 16-18, av. 2.4 X 16.28 mm (according to Jourdain).

Molt: Juveniles replacing small feathering obtained on Sakhalin in August, Beginning of replacement of small feathers in adults reported by Gizenko also in August. Large feathering replaced apparently at winter quar ters.

Diet: In general as in other butcher-birds, but precise information about Sakhalin lacking.

Description: Size and structure: Wing formula 3 > 4 > 5 > 2 > 6, sometimes 4 > 3 and 6 > 2, bill relatively long, about 12-14 mm. Wing of males (10) 84-91, females (6) 82-90, av. 87.7 and 85mm (in 4 subfledglings in southern Sakhalin 80-85, av. 83 mm, weight of these individuals 30 -37, av. 33g (Gizenko). Tail about 87 -93 mm.

Coloration: Differs from L. c. cristatus in brighter reddish- brown colorabove, with crown and back uniformly colored, White belt on forehead and superciliaries broad (about 4-8 mm) and of pure color; underparts ocher. Similarly in adult males. Females similar to males, but less bright, frontal band and superciliaries with ocher tinge; lores and auriculars, suborbital band not black but brownish. Speculum on wing hidden by coverts in both male and female. Juveniles relatively dark brown above, with well developed barring; remiges edged pale ocher; suborbital band pale brown, superciliaries faintly marked. Beak of adults black, feet dark gray, irides dark brown.