Shrikes, Orioles, Drongos

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Shrikes are medium-sized birds with grey, brown, or black and white plumage. They are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns, the spikes on barbed-wire fences, or any available sharp point. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently sized fragments, and serves as a cache so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time. Oriole males are typically black and vibrant yellow or orange with white markings, females and immature birds duller. They are generally slender with long tails and a pointed bill and mainly eat insects, but also enjoy nectar and fruit. Drongos are mostly black or dark grey, short-legged birds, with an upright stance when perched. They have forked tails and some have elaborate tail decorations.


Ashy Drongo

Total Photos: 4

The adult ashy drongo is mainly dark grey, and the tail is long and deeply forked, There are a number of subspecies varying in the shade of the grey plumage. Some subspecies have white markings on the head. Young birds are dull brownish grey.

It is very dark and almost like the black drongo although this bird is slimmer and has a somewhat longer and less-splayed tail. It is found in more tall forest habitat, has dark grey underside lacking the sheen of black drongo. The iris is crimson and there is no white rictal spot. hey can imitate the calls of other birds and are capable of imitating the whistling notes of a Common Iora.

Baird's Trogon

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Baltimore Oriole

Total Photos: 2

The Baltimore Oriole is a small blackbird that is 20cm long and weighs 35gm. This bird received its name from the fact that the male's colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. At one time, this species and the Bullock's Oriole were considered to be a single species, the Northern Oriole.

Adults have a pointed bill and white bars on the wings. The adult male is orange on the underparts, shoulder patch and rump. All of the rest of the male is black. The adult female is yellow-brown on the upper parts with darker wings, and dull orange on the breast and belly.

The Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike is a small passerine bird formerly placed in the cuckooshrike family but probably closer to the woodshrikes. It is found in the forests of tropical southern Asia from the Himalayas and hills of southern India to Indonesia. Mainly insectivorous it is found hunting in the mid-canopy of forests, often joining mixed-species foraging flocks.

Males are velvety black while females tend to be greyish brown but the pattern varies across the geographic populations. Both males and females of the Himalayan H. p. capitalis have a brown back but the males have a black head. The Sri Lankan population leggei lacks sexual dimorphism in plumage. H. p. intermedius has only the females with a brownish back. The tail is black but the outer tail feathers are white while the non-central tail feathers are tipped with white.

Bay-backed Shrike

Total Photos: 5

The Bay-backed Shrike is smallish shrike at 17 cm, maroon-brown above with a pale rump and long black tail with white edges. The underparts are white, but with buff flanks. The crown and nape are grey, with a typical shrike black bandit mask through the eye. There is a small white wing patch, and the bill and legs are dark grey. Sexes are similar, but young birds are washed-out versions of the adults.

Black Drongo

Total Photos: 3

The Black Drongo is the small Asian passerine bird of the drongo family. Previously Blak Drongo was considered as a subspecies of the African Fork-tailed Drongo; but it is now recognized as a full species. Geographically, the Fork-tailed Drongo is restricted to Africa, while the Black Drongo is an Asian species.

It is a common resident breeder in much of tropical southern Asia from southwest Iran through India and Sri Lanka east to southern China and Indonesia. Feeding on insects, it is common in open agricultural areas and light forest throughout its range, perching conspicuously on a bare perch or along power or telephone lines.

This bird is glossy black with a wide fork to the tail. Adults usually have a small white spot at the base of the gape. The iris is dark brown. The male and female cannot be told apart in the field. Juveniles are brownish and may have some white barring or speckling towards the belly and vent, and can be mistaken for the White-bellied Drongo. First-year birds have white tips to the feathers of the belly, while second-years have these white-tipped feathers restricted to the vent.

They are aggressive and fearless birds, and although only 30cm in length, they will attack much larger species that enter their nesting territory, including crows and birds of prey. This behaviour led to their former name of King Crow. They fly with strong flaps of the wing and are capable of fast manoeuvres that enable them to capture flying insects.With short legs, they sit upright on thorny bushes, bare perches or electricity wires. They may also perch on grazing animals. Smaller birds often nest in the well guarded vicinity of a nesting Black Drongo.

Black-headed Cuckooshrike

Total Photos: 1

The black-headed cuckooshrike is a species of cuckooshrike found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Black-headed Shrike

Total Photos: 2

The Black-headed Shrike is a typical shrike, favouring dry open habitats and found perched prominently atop a bush or on a wire. The dark mask through the eye is broad and covers the whole head. They have a long and narrow black tail, rufous rump and flanks and a small white patch on the shoulder.

Black-headed Trogon

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Black-hooded Oriole

Total Photos: 4

The Black-hooded Oriole is a member of the oriole family of passerine birds and is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia.

It is a bird of open woodland and cultivation. The food is insects and fruit, especially figs, found in the tree canopies where the orioles spend much of their time.

The male is striking, with the typical oriole black and yellow coloration. The plumage is predominantly yellow, with a solid black hood, and black also in the wings and tail centre.

The female Black-hooded Oriole is a drabber bird with greenish underparts, but still has the black hood. Young birds are like the female, but have dark streaking on the underparts, and their hood is not solidly black, especially on the throat.

The Black-hooded Oriole's flight is somewhat like a thrush, strong and direct with some shallow dips over longer distances.

Black-naped Oriole

Total Photos: 3

The Black-naped Oriole is found in many parts of Asia. Unlike the Golden Oriole which only has a short and narrow eye-stripe, the black-naped oriole has the stripe broadening and joining at the back of the neck. Males and females are very similar although the wing lining of the female is more greenish. The bill is pink and is stouter than in the Golden Oriole.

It is medium-sized and overall golden with a strong pinkish bill and a broad black mask and nape. The adult male has the central tail feathers tipped yellow and the lateral ones are more broadly yellow. The female has the mantle colour more greenish or olive. The juvenile has a streaked underside. The nestling has dull greenish with brown streaks. The head and nape are more yellowish and the undertail coverts are yellow.

It is found in forests, gardens and plantations. It feeds on berries and insects in the canopy.

Black-tailed Trogon

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Black-throated Trogon

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Brown Shrike

Total Photos: 3

The brown shrike is closely related to the red-backed shrike and isabelline shrike. Like most other shrikes, it has a distinctive black 'bandit-mask' through the eye. and is found mainly in open scrub habitats, where it perches on the tops of thorny bushes in search of prey. Several populations of this widespread species form distinctive subspecies which breed in temperate Asia and migrate to their winter quarters in tropical Asia. They are sometimes found as vagrants in Europe and North America.

Citreoline Trogon

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Collared Trogon

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Common Woodshrike

Total Photos: 6

The Common Woodshrike is a species in the helmetshrike family. It is found in southern Asia where it occurs in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. The subspecies in Sri Lanka is sometimes considered a separate species, the Sri Lanka Woodshrike.

It is a greyish brown bird with blackish stripe below the eye and White below. Male and female are alike. Shrikes always seen in pairs OR small parties on trees. They pearch on upright on the tress OR wires to hunt moths, beetles, caterpillars and other insects.

Cuban Trogon

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Eared Quetzal

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Elegant Trogon

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Gartered Trogon

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Golden-headed Quetzal

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In most of its range in Asia, this is the largest of the drongo species and is readily identifiable by the distinctive tail rackets and the crest of curled feather that begin in front of the face above the beak and along the crown to varying extents according to the subspecies. The tail with twirled rackets is distinctive and in flight it can appear as if two large bees were chasing a black bird. In the eastern Himalayas the species can be confused with the lesser racket-tailed drongo, however the latter has flat rackets with the crest nearly absent.

Young birds are duller, and can lack a crest while moulting birds can lack the elongate tail streamers. The racket is formed by the inner web of the vane but appears to be on the outer web since the rachis has a twist just above the spatula.

Like other drongos, these feed mainly on insects but also feed on fruits and visit flowering trees for nectar. Having short legs, they sit upright and are often perched on high and exposed branches. They are aggressive and will sometimes mob larger birds especially when nesting. They are often active at dusk.

Grey-backed Shrike

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Hispaniolan Trogon

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Indian Golden Oriole

Total Photos: 2

The Indian Golden Oriole is a species of oriole found in the Indian Subcontinent and Central Asia. The species was once considered to be a subspecies of the Eurasian Golden Oriole, but has been elevated to a full species on the basis of differences in morphology, plumage, calls and the fact that the two do not intergrade. Adult males can be told apart from the Eurasian Golden Oriole by the black of the eye stripe extending behind the eye. The Indian Golden Oriole is a partial migrant. It breeds in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Nepal, as well as much of India. The Indian populations are largely resident while other populations are migratory.

Isabelline Shrike

Total Photos: 1

This migratory medium-sized passerine eats large insects, small birds, rodents and lizards. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a larder. It breeds in open cultivated country, preferably with thorn bushes.

The plumage is isabelline, the sandy colour which gives rise to its name. It has a red tail. Young birds can be distinguished from young red-backed shrikes by the much sparser vermiculations on the underparts.

Isabelline Wheatear

Total Photos: 2

The isabelline wheatear is a migratory insectivorous bird. Its habitat is steppe and open countryside and it breeds in southern Russia and central Asia to Northern Pakistan, wintering in Africa and northwestern India. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

In coloring it resembles a female northern wheatear but it is larger at 6.5 in in length, more upright and more tawny in colour, and has more black on its tail. The term isabelline refers to the parchment-like coloration. The axillaries and underwing coverts are white, whereas in the commoner bird they are mottled with grey. The sexes are similar.

Large Woodshrike

Total Photos: 0

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The Malabar woodshrike is sometimes considered conspecific.

Lattice-tailed Trogon

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Long-tailed Shrike

Total Photos: 4

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.

Malabar Woodshrike

Total Photos: 2

Mountain Trogon

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Orange-bellied Trogon

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Philippine Shrike

Total Photos: 2

Resplendent Quetzal

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Scott's Oriole

Total Photos: 1

The Scott's Oriole is primarily found in the Southwestern United States and south to Baja California Sur and central Mexico.

Scott's Orioles are medium-sized, sexually dimorphic songbirds. Adult males are black above and bright yellow below. The wings are black with one yellow wing-bar and one white wing-bar. Females are yellowish overall with darker wings and tail. In females, both wing-bars are white. In both genders, the bill is long, straight, and pointed.

Slaty-tailed Trogon

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Southern Grey Shrike

Total Photos: 2

The plumage is generally similar to great grey shrike. It breeds in central Asia and winters in the tropics. It is much paler than southern grey or great grey, and is sometimes split as a separate species, the steppe grey shrike.

Steppe Grey Shrike

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The Troupial is the national bird of Venezuela. It is found across South America east of the Andes, from Colombia, Venezuela and the Guianas down to Argentina. This bird can also found on Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao.

The Troupial is fairly large in size, with a long tail and a bulky bill. It has a black head and upper breast. The feathers on the front of the neck and upper breast stick outward, making an uneven boundary between the black and the orange of the bird's lower breast and underside. The rest of the orange color is found on the upper and lower back, separated by the black shoulders. The wings are mostly black except for a white streak that runs the length of the wing when in a closed position. The eyes are yellow, and surrounding each one, there is a patch of bright, blue skin.

Troupials inhabit dry areas like woodlands, gallery forest, dry scrub, llanos and open savannah where they forage for insects, a wide variety of fruit, small birds and eggs. Generally they can be found in central South America with some of the subspecies to the northern and eastern extremes of the continent.

Western White-tailed Trogon

Total Photos: 2

The Western White-tailed Trogon is also known as the White-tailed Trogon. It is a near passerine bird in the Trogon family. It is found in tropical humid forests of the Chocó, ranging from Panama, through western Colombia, to western Ecuador.

This relatively large Trogon is 30 cm long. In the male the head and upper breast are dark blue, and the back is green, becoming bluer on the rump. The lower underparts are orange-yellow. The wings are black, vermiculited with white. The under-tail is almost entirely white with only a very narrow black base to each feather. The complete eye-ring is pale bluish. The female White-tailed Trogon resembles the male, but has a gray back, head and breast, and rather indistinct black-and-white barring to the inner webs of each tail feather.

White-bellied Drongo

Total Photos: 2

The White-bellied Drongo is a species of drongo found only on the Indian Subcontinent in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Like other members of the family they are insectivorous and is mainly black in colour but with a white belly and vent. Young birds are however all black and can be confused with the Black Drongo although smaller and more compact in appearance and the subspecies found in Sri Lanka has white restricted to the vent.

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Total Photos: 7

The Yellow-rumped Cacique is a passerine bird. It breeds in much of northern South America from Panama and Trinidad south to Peru, Bolivia and central Brazil.

It is 30 cm long and weighs about 105 gm. The Yellow-rumped Cacique is a slim bird, with a long tail, blue eyes, and a pale yellow pointed bill. It has mainly black plumage, apart from a bright yellow rump, tail base, lower belly and wing epaulets. The female is duller black than the male, and the juvenile bird resembles the female, but has dark eyes and a brown bill base.