Monday, July 5, 2010

The "Butcher Bird"

When out birding or butterflying or just walking, you find all sorts of things and learn much about other aspects of natural history. For example last week when in the Aggtelek National Park in NE Hungary I found this.... a Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita impaled on a thorn by Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio. This small shrike is known as the "butcher bird" in folk-English because of its habit of storing prey in this way, on thorns, sharp twigs, barbed wire, etc. The victim is half-eaten and there is a parasitic wasp on the exposed flesh near the thorn. Aggtelek, Hungary, June 2010.

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