Yellow-billed shrike

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Yellow-billed shrike
Yellow billed shrike with prey.jpg
Individual with prey at University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Laniidae
Genus: Corvinella
Species: C. corvina
Binomial name
Corvinella corvina
(Shaw, 1809)

The yellow-billed shrike (Corvinella corvina) is a small passerine bird in the shrike family. It is sometimes known as the long-tailed shrike but this is to be discouraged since it invites confusion with the long-tailed shrike, Lanius schach, of tropical southern Asia.

The yellow-billed shrike is a common resident breeding bird in tropical Africa from Senegal east to Uganda and locally in westernmost Kenya. It frequents forest and other habitats with trees.

The nest is a cup structure in a bush or tree into which four or five eggs are laid. Only one female in a group breeds at a given time, with other members providing protection and food.

The yellow-billed shrike is 18 cm long with a long tail and short wings. The adult has mottled brown upperparts and streaked buff underparts. There is a brown eye mask and a rufous wing patch, and the bill is yellow. Sexes are similar, but immatures show buff fringes to the wing feathers.

This is a conspicuous and gregarious bird, always seen in groups, often lined up on telephone wires. It is noisy, with harsh swee-swee and dreee-too calls.

The yellow-billed shrike feeds on insects which it locates from prominent look-out perches in trees, wires or posts.


Yellow-billed shrike in Senegal
  • Birds of The Gambia by Barlow, Wacher and Disley, ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Zimmerman, Dale A.; Turner, Donald A. & Pearson, David J. (1999). Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania, Field Guide Edition. Princeton University Press. p. 494. ISBN 0-691-01022-6.