64. Woodchat Shrike

Shrikes have hooked beaks, hooked claws, they are voracious hunters of flesh and they impale their fresh victims on thorny branches. By now you may be thinking these must be some winged abomination straight from the Tales of Simbad. But they are not: the biggest shrike in the region is dwarfed by a pigeon, and today's subject - the Woodchat Shrike - is hardly bigger than a sparrow! The Woodchat Shrike (M: Kaccamendula) is a regular migrant and at this time of the year they can be spotted in open countryside, often perching on electricity lines, watching out for lizards or large insects. Some pairs also try to nest, but all too often they are shot dead by hunters. Now, with (hopefully) a permanent ban on hunting in spring, the future for breeding Woodchat Shrikes may be brighter.

Text by Victor Falzon, photo by Aron Tanti.

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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