Long-tailed Shrike

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names

Rufous-backed Shrike

Native Habitat



Insects, Lizards, Mice


Long-tailed Shrike

Lanius schach

The Long-tailed Shrike is a common resident breeder throughout the Indomalayan ecozone from Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indian peninsula except eastern states, to New Guinea.

Found on bushes in scrubby areas and cultivation. Winter visitor to southern areas such as southeast India and Sri Lanka. It has some resemblances to the grey shrikes, sharing the pearl grey head and mantle and black mask extending from the forehead, through the eye, to the ear coverts. An eastern race found in Bhutan to Arunachal Pradesh, has a black head extending from the eye mask to the whole crown and nape. It is small for a grey shrike, but has a very long tail with rufous edges. The underparts are white, but with rufous flanks. The bill and legs are nearly black.

This bird has a characteristic upright ''shrike'' attitude perched on a bush, from which it sallies after lizards, large insects, small birds and rodents. Prey may be impaled upon a sharp point, such as a thorn. Thus secured they can be ripped with the strong hooked bill, but its feet are not suited for tearing. Its flight is undulating, but its dash is straight and determined.

Regional Names
  • Bengali:
    ল্যাঞ্জা লাটোরা
  • Gujarati:
    કાઠીયાવાડી લટોરો
  • Hindi:
    लहटोरा, कसाई
  • Kannada:
    ಕೆಂಗಂದುಬೆನ್ನಿನ ಕಳಿಂಗ
  • Malayalam:
    ചാരക്കുട്ടൻ ഷ്രൈക്ക്
  • Marathi:
    नकल्या खाटीक
  • Sanskrit:
    आरक्तपृष्ठ लटूषक
  • Tamil:
    செம்முதுகு கீச்சான்
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Lanius schach

Quick Facts
  • These are capable of vocal mimicry and include the calls of many species like lapwings, cuckoos, puppies & squirrels in their song.