bird turner birds species
SHRIKE, a bird's name so given by Turner (1544), but solely on the authority of Sir Francis Lovell, for Turner had seen the bird but twice in England, though in Germany often, and could not find any one else who so called it. However, the word I was caught up by succeeding writers ; and, though hardly used except in books - for Butcher-bird is its vernacular synonym - it not only retains its first position in literary English, but has been largely extended so as to apply in general to all birds of the Family Laniiclx and others besides. The name Lanius, in this sense, originated with Gesner 2 (1555), who thought that the birds to which he gave it had not been mentioned by the ancients. Sundevall, however, considers that the Pfalacocraneus of Aristotle was one of them, as indeed Turner had before suggested, though repelling the latter's supposition that Aristotle's Tyrannus was another, as well as Belon's reference of Collyrion.
The species designated Shrike by Turner is the Lanius excubitor of Linuams and nearly all succeeding authors, nowadays) commonly known as the Greater Butcher-bird, Ash-coloured or Great Grey Shriko, - a bird which visits the British Islands pretty regularly, though not numerously, in autumn or winter, occasionally prolong-ing its stay into the next summer; but it has never been ascertained to breed there, though often asserted to have done so. This is the more remarkable since it breeds more or less commonly on the Continent from the north of Francs to within the Arctic Circle. Exceeding a Song-Thrush in linear measurements, it is a much less bulky bird, of a pearly ,,,;-rey above with a well- defined black band passing from the forehead to the ear-coverts ; beneath it is nearly white, orand this is particularly observable in Eastern examples - barred with dusky. The quill-feathers of the wings, and of the elongated tail, are variegated with black and white, but are mostly of the former, though what there is of the latter shows very conspicuously, especially at the base of the remixes, where it forms either a single or a double patch.2 Much smaller than this is the Red-backed Shrike, L. collurio, the best-known species in Great Britain, where it is a summer visitor, and, though its distribution is rather local, it may be seen in many parts of England and occasionally reaches Scotland. The cock is a sightly bird with his grey head and neck, black cheek-band, chestnut back, and pale red breast, while the ben is ordinarily of a dull brown, barred on the lower plumage. A more highly coloured species is called the Woodchat, L. auriculatus or rutilus, with a bright bay crown and nape, and the rest of its plumage black, grey, and white. This is an accidental visitor to England, but breeds commonly throughout Europe. All these birds, with many others included in the genus Lanius, which there is no room here to specify, have, according to their respective power, the very remarkable habit (whence they have earned their opprobrious name) of catching insects, frogs, lizards, or small birds and mammals, and of spitting them on a thorn or of fixing them in a forked branch, the more conveniently to tear them in pieces and eat them.
The limits of the Family Laniidte have been very variously regarded, and agreement between almost any two systematists on this point seems at present out of the question. The latest synopsis is that by Dr Gadow (Cat. B. Brit. ))Museum., viii. pp. 88-321), who frankly states that it is "quite impossible to give a concise diagnosis of what we are to understand by " the Family. For his purpose he makes it to include about 250 species and divides it into five sub-families : - Gymnorhininx, 21alaconotinx, Pachycepludinx, Laniinx, and Vireoninm. Of these doubts may be entertained as to the affinity of the first and especially of the last. He, but for the crude plan to which he was compelled to conform, would not have separated Strepera from Gymnorkina ; but the former had been already included, to the exclusion of the latter, among the Coruidie, and even placed among the normal Corthim. The need of exercising reserve on this matter has been before stated (CROW, vol. vi. p. G17); but the number of ornithologists who think that these two genera should be placed in different Families must be small. The view taken by Prof. Parker seems to be the most reasonable : these genera - with others doubtless and most of them Australian - are morphologically inferior to the Corvida, and perhaps deserve some such designation as that of "Noto-Coracomorpha" suggested by him (Trans. Zool. Society, ix. p. 327). At the same time their relationship to the Laniithe appears to be evident, and they may perhaps be best regarded as the less-altered descendants of an old type, whence both the true Crows and the true Shrikes have sprung, each to develop into higher morphological rank, and by the way to throw out numerous other branches. As to the Vireos it would seem almost certain that they have little or no connexion with the Laniida'. (A. x.)