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Common Name : Rufous-rumped Shrike     -       Scientific Name : Lanius schach       -       Other Name : Long-tailed Shrike (E), Guru As Patiya (S)
Mollikulama
05/23/2016
Mollikulama
05/23/2016
Mollikulama
05/23/2016
Mollikulama
05/23/2016

This is a breeding resident species found only in the dry arid lowlands of the northwest and north. It is occasionally found in the north central province near Anuradapura as well. This species is found across Asia in scrub and open habitats from Kazakhstan to New Guinea. Many subspecies have been recognized based on the differences of the colour of their plumage. The race found in southern India and Sri Lanka is referred to as Lanius schach caniceps.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Vulnerable” (National Red List 2012).

This is a species strictly protected under schedule of IV read with section 31 of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

I have seen this species to be most common from Mollikulama northwards up to Vedithalathivu and from Murunkan around the Giants Tank towards Mannar and Thiruketheswaram. It used to be very common in the Mannar Island in early 2007 during our visits to study the birds in this region. Even though it is still found in the Island their numbers have decreased with the rapid human activity and the clearing of scrub jungle areas for human settlements. I have seen this species in the Jaffna peninsula as well.

These birds have an interesting habit of impaling their prey on the thorns of the bushes found in their habitat. I have observed frogs, Grasshoppers and Geckos being impaled on the thorns of the invasive Katu Andara Prosophis juliflora bushes.

In Wilpattu these birds can only be seen in the extreme northern boundaries of the park. I have seen them at Mollukulama and Marichchakaddi.