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Brown shrike

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Siberian Zhulan - (weight 28-30 g) with relatively short wings and a rather long stepped tail. As with all shrikes, the beak is strong, hooked at the end, dentate-like protrusion at the end of the beak, legs with sharp bent claws. The male has a grayish-brown top, a reddish head, and a yellowish-brown tail. The bottom is buffy, the forehead, eyebrow and throat are white. The female is dimmer, the young ones are darker.

The voice is a sharp check-check and a loud chjaa-chjaa. Singing is a melodious twittering often involving imitation of other birds. Zhulan is careful (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1980).

Spread. Bird of open and clarified landscapes of Siberia: thickets of bushes and river urea in the steppe, parks, forest-steppe groves, sparse forests, clearings and fires (Rogacheva, 1988). Siberian zhulan penetrates the mountains along river valleys, where it is common in mixed forests and along the outskirts of meadows on the Yenisei terraces and is rare in pine forests on these terraces (Sokolov et al., 1983, Petrov, Rudkovsky, 1985).

In the Minusinsk depression, it is found everywhere where there is woody or shrubby vegetation. Zhulan nests in park forests and thickets of bushes of the Usinsk depression. Common, in places abundant in the forest-steppe. Most characteristic of subtaiga and southern taiga. On the Kozul plain, its nesting abundance in birch-aspen groves interspersed with meadows was 27 individuals / km 2 (Naumov, 1960). Zhulans are also numerous on overgrowing mowings, felling, and silkworms of the southern taiga Angara region: 56 individuals / km 2 in felling areas of dark coniferous forests, about 159 in felling areas (Vladyshevsky, 1975, Vladyshevsky, Shaparev, 1976). According to Yu.S. Ravkina (1984), the Zhulan in the Angara region is abundant in recent clearings and deins in pine forests (43 individuals / km 2) and on overgrown taiga burnt areas (14 individuals). The abundance of Siberian julan in the upper river was very high. Keti above s. Makovskoye (58 '15' N), here on a silkworm couples met on average at a distance of 70 m from one another (Moskvitin et al., 1977). In the southern Yenisei taiga (59-60 'N), such a high abundance was not observed anywhere: here, nesting time was common in the Yenisei forest-meadow floodplain and in pine rows (1 and 2 individuals / km 2, respectively) (Bursky, Vakhrushev , 1983).

In the Yenisei middle taiga and to the north, the distribution of the julan associated with sparse forests is largely confined to the most man-made Yenisei strip. At Mirny (62 '15' N), zhulan is a rare, sometimes ordinary bird. The Siberian Zhulan nests annually in the Mirnovskaya glade, often in burnt areas and transitional marshes in the basins of the Varlamovka and Sarchikhi rivers. In the river basin Birobchan (basin of the Podkamennaya Tunguska, Central Siberian Reserve) Siberian julan was numerous in 1986 on the valley burning. In the Yenisei northern taiga, it is rare, but nests to the north of the subzone (Angutiha, 66 '10' N). Zhulan was also found in the Yenisei forest-tundra (68-69 'N), where it probably nests in floodplain thickets and sparse forests near the Yenisei; in the second half of August 1977, the abundance was equal to the floodplain willow-alder thickets in southern forest-tundra (Ust-Khantayka) 4 individuals / km 2, in the same place in rare-standing birch-spruce forests - 2, and in larch-birch woodlands in a typical forest-tundra (Nikolskoye) - 2 individuals / km 2 (Rogacheva et al., 1983) .

In the mountains of Putorana, so far to the north, the Zhulan was not found: it is very rare within the extreme northern taiga near the Norilsk lakes and in the river basin. Fish and does not enter the forest-tundra (Kretschmar, 1966). On the Khantai Lake (68 '30' N) in the summer of 1960, broods of Zhulans were found (Syroechkovsky, 1961). Nesting in the extreme northern taiga in the upper river was also proved. Turukhan, near the lake. Yazevo (67 '10'N): July 30, 1978 a young, not fully fledged bird was caught here (Rogacheva et al., 1987).

Phenology. Arrives at Krasnoyarsk by June 1, fresh masonry - June 18, rally - the second decade of July. A.V. Kretschmar (1966) at the lake On July 22, Keta found large chicks in the nest, and on July 27 he observed young flying (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1980).

Breeding. Nest on a tree, bushes, less often on the ground. Clutch - 4-7 pinkish or whitish eggs with brownish spots (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1980).

Nutrition. The Siberian zhulan eats animal food, mainly insects, but also small vertebrates: birds, mammals, frogs, lizards. Characteristic is the collection of food reserves by pricking extracted animals on spikes or knots (Syroechkovsky, Rogacheva, 1980).

Lanius cristatus (Linnaeus, 1758)



Here is an interesting pair of cheaters we observed with a group of Swedish birdwatchers standing on the border in Tashant. Photos taken by trip participant - Niklas Andersson. The female in pair is the Siberian julan, but the male - hell-knows-what. And it’s not really pulling on the Bulan, obviously already with an admixture. And their children will be most interesting (if any).
Are there anyone willing and able to check the pair again this year? The place is not easy - near the border guards. Birds regularly appeared on the fence enclosing administrative buildings from the entrance to customs. On the satellite, this area is heavily flooded. But from the line to customs, it is very well visible. When 5 cars are left in front of the entrance, that’s it.
Photography is prohibited there. Niklas, as the most desperate, fotal of birds, hiding in the bowels of the car, while the rest created a barrier with their bodies.
It would be very interesting to learn about the development of relations in this pair. But I myself, most likely, will not be able to break out to Tashanta again until the first decade of August. 2017-06-30. Elena Schneider:

Comment on these photos from another trip participant - Magnus Hellström:
On June 13, in Tashanta (eastern Chuya steppe, Altai republic), while waiting in the car line for border crossing, we made observations of two Lanius-shrikes that may be of interest.

The shrikes were posed on a fence surrounding one of the administrative buidnings close to the border crossing (approximate coordinates 49.712658 ° 89.198924 °). Becuase of the proximity to the border, our observations were made with binoculars and cameras from inside the car. We did not dare to step out and use our telescopes.

At first we only noted one bird, a female Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) feeding close to the fence. After a while, a second bird turned up. It was male, and there was a clear courtship relation noted between the two birds. The male gave insects to the female on several occasions, and it was also seen to vibrate its wings in front of her in order to get attention. This behavior was seen several times, during several hours.

From a distance, in our binoculars, the male looked like a handsome Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus isabellinus), the common breeding taxon in the area. However, after analysing the photographs, it is obvious that the male show signs of Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) in the plumage. Dark portions are present in the tail, and the crown is slightly paler ash gray than average isabellinus males. In other words, it was a hybrid (but with predominat plumage of isabellinus).

Because of the badly choosen locality, we could not document the observation properly. Although it seems clear that the two birds were a pair, we do not know if there was a nest site in the area.

In the English language literature, hybridization involving cristatus is very scarce, and fully documented cases are perhaps even unknown? Here we have a case involving a cristaus female and an isabellinus x collurio male, which (if fertile) would surely produce an offspring with a very interesting phenotypical appearance.

If any one of you would have the chance to visit the area during the coming weeks it would be very valuable to recieve additional information as well as better photographs. Are they breeding together? Do they produce eggs? Is there a surviving offspring, and how do they look like? 2017-07-08. Sergey L. Volkov:

I don’t understand much in julian hybridization, but this bird, I think, has a good proportion of ordinary julan. I see her as a hybrid of ordinary and, sort of, Siberian. 2017-07-08. Yasko Anna:

The common and Siberian zhulans do not have such a noticeable white “mirror” at the base of the PM, therefore, it seems to me that this bird cannot be a hybrid of these two species. It is similar to Daurian Zhulan Lanius isabellinus speculigerus: the top is gray, the dark “mask” is narrow and there is a white spot on the flywheels. 2017-07-08. Vadim Ivushkin:

I agree with Anna, this is undoubtedly the male Lanius isabellinus speculigerus, without any impurities. An interesting hybrid pair. 2017-07-09. Sergey L. Volkov:

Well, here's how. I'm not special in julans. Even the "mirror" did not really notice. If so, it is very interesting to see their children. 2017-07-15. Magnus Hellström:

An additional image of the male can be seen here.

In my opinion it is best regarded as an isabellinus-male with some collurio-influece, because of the dark pattern in the tail and the pale ash gray crown. 2017-07-15. Magnus Hellström:

I forgot: All photos are from Niklas Andersson. 2017-07-16. Oleg Belyalov:

I also expressed an opinion, but on the FB, that the male is a Daurian julan Lanius isabellinus speculigerus. I did not know that there was a discussion on 2017-07-16. Oleg Belyalov:

And I want to draw attention to the fact that L.S. Stepanyan, believed that in Altai the karelini form lives, and not speculigerus, whose range, according to L.S. started only from Hamar Daban. This is very interesting, because in fact these birds (karelini and speculigerus) are very similar, and they are easy to confuse. What is undoubted is that in both cases there was clearly a collurio influence, but if karelini it was a meeting collurio x phoenicuro> 2017-07-19. Elena Schneider:

Thank you all for your comments! I want to note that speculigerus is a common subspecies of the damask Julan in Altai. And he is different. At least his forehead is red. After hundreds of speculigerus scanned during the expedition, this one obviously looks different. 2017-07-19. Magnus Hellström:

I would like to add that there is no doubt (what so ever) that the male has influence from collurio. This pattern of the tail and crown is never seen in areas away from the hybr> 2017-07-19. Magnus Hellström:

I forgot to mention: The only photo where the tail pattern is visible is the one I linked in my post above from 2017/07/15. 2017-07-19. Sergey L. Volkov:

I did not see speculigerus alive. But still I agree with Elena. Looked at E. N. Panov hybrids. Perhaps this bird is a speculigerus x collurio hybrid. Among the birds of the Chui steppe, such hybrids make up the majority. 2017-07-19. Oleg Belyalov:

In a zone where hybridization, although not constant, exists, it is difficult to expect uniformity of color from birds. The more encounters with collurio will be in the speculigerus population, the more gray heads they will have. For example, in Bulan Kashgars, Lanius isabellinus isabellinus has a completely different distribution of the redhead on the head, and the redhead is no longer just the forehead. And on speculigerus from Altai, there is always a collurio influence. A similar situation with Turkestan Lanius phoenicuro> 2017-07-19. Vadim Ivushkin:

I don’t like theoretical reasoning. Firstly, were there any studies that specifically indicated signs (the dark middle of the tail and the gray head, why then do the white helmsmen appear nowhere or does it happen?) That they were acquired during hybridization with collurio? Would it be good with genetics? To argue so recklessly about the results of such a hybridization?
Secondly, why did the Siberian Julan be excluded from the variants of acquired characters during hybridization? About hybridization with which these photos already testify?
Thirdly, if we rely on Panov’s data, we will remain at the existing level, and not go further. If only because E.N. It does not indicate the eastern border of the range of the Bulan Zhulan as it actually passes. This species lives much east, even in places where there is no mention of collurio, or even Siberian. But the center steering is often quite dark, and some have something like a dark band at the end of the tail, which can be seen in my photos. As well, the head of the Transbaikal birds is much lighter than that of the Baikal. And what is being done in eastern Mongolia. most likely no one knows at all, although there are separate observations. So the data so far is enough only for speculation, but not for specific conclusions. Approximately the same as for the thrush hybridization in Siberia. 2017-07-19. Vadim Ivushkin:

And also, if you look at the points on the area map on three branches of the site, where there is a damask julan, you can immediately see where the “white” spots are and where there is a lack of data. 2017-07-19. Elena Schneider:

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author:Elena Schneider
the shoot place:Tashanta, Altai Republic
date:2017-06-13
camera:Canon 7D