Fun Magpie Shrike Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Magpie Shrike Facts For Kids

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In this article, we shall be talking about a magnificent bird of prey whose relative small size couldn't limit it from striking down preys who are similar in size. The magpie shrike is a wonderful bird and can be seen in the southern part of Africa.

Magpie shrikes are 'short-body,' 'long-tailed' bird species that are declared as monotypic by scientists. They have a small black body with scattered white descriptions. They have a black long tail that is vaguely as long as their body. Magpie shrike occurs in great numbers and can be found in dry and moist Savannas in south Africa. Magpie shrike's behavior displays to be aggressive while hunting. They bite on the top of the head and strike their prey down. They prey on both ground and flying animals and insects.

Further in this magpie shrike facts article, we shall discuss some interesting and funny facts that you will surely enjoy.

And if you like reading random bird facts, then do check our cockatoo facts and red birds of paradise facts pages.

Fun Magpie Shrike Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Lizards, mice, insects, fruits

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-5 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.9-3.4 oz (55-97 g)

How long are they?

13.4-19.7 in (34-50 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, white spots

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Destruction

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Grassland, Woodland, Shrubland, Ground


South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, Zambia









Magpie Shrike Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a magpie shrike?

The magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) is a kind of bird. This long-tailed bird occurs in the Savannas of eastern and south-eastern Africa. They can also be found in open grasslands and shrublands. Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds are monotypic species and belong to the family Laniidae.

What class of animal does a magpie shrike belong to?

The magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) belongs to the class Aves, family Laniidae, order Passeriformes and their genus is Urolestes. The scientific name of this bird species is Urolestes melanoleucus or Corvinella melanoleuca.

How many magpie shrikes are there in the world?

The exact data of how many magpie shrikes (Urolestes melanoleucus) inhabit the world is not recorded yet. As per the reports from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the conservation status of these birds is considered to be Least Concern. So it can be believed that their population is doing well in the fauna.

Where does a magpie shrike live?

Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds live in the African Savannas, both moist and dry. They can be found in woodlands, open grasslands, shrublands, and forests areas.

What is a magpie shrike's habitat?

The magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) is a special inhabitant of the South-African continent. They can be seen in the grasslands and woodlands across east and south-east Africa. They have a widespread habitat that includes places like Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

Who does magpie shrike live with?

Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds occur in large groups. One can normally spot them in a  group of 12 - 15, quarreling in a certain area. Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) are very social birds and act very cooperative within their group. Be it search for food or finding materials for building nest; they do it together.

How long does a magpie shrike live?

As there is no exact information about the average life span of a magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) is available, this question can't be answered accurately. However, shrikes have an average life span of 7-8 years. Because both shrikes and magpie shrikes belong to the same family (Laniidae), it can be considered that their average life span range is also similar.

How do they reproduce?

Magpie shrike's breeding season commences from the rainy season. These cute small birds are known to be monogamous in nature. Their breeding happens in a definite pair, and keep they keep their bond lively. Both male and female shrikes build their nest at a moderate elevation with dry grass, shoots, thin branches, and soft materials. Then females lay their eggs in it. Female magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds lay 3-5 eggs in their bowl-shaped nest or clutch. The magpie shrike egg then goes through an incubation period of 16-20 days. The cooperative and sensible nature of these bird species can be seen in this case. During the incubation period, male birds search for food and feed their companion. And after the chicks are born, both the parent birds look after them, and to their aid, their kids from the prior breeding season also look after their newborn brothers and sisters.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds are considered under the conservation category of Least Concern.

Magpie Shrike Fun Facts

What does magpie shrike look like?

Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) is a magnificent bird that inhabits the southern part of the African continent. Their body is mostly black colored with a nice description of white patterns. These bird species are equipped with a really long tail which is also black in color. Their small round head and neck are covered by a layer of furry feathers that displays a matte black hue. The color patterns between a male and a female may vary a little. The bodyside of males are brown-black in color, but in case of many females, it is white in color. Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) birds have a tough black beak for catching their prey.

Magpie shrikes have a very long tail which is one of their best features

How cute are they?

Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) bird species are playful in nature. They live in groups, and one group may occupy a range of area near 2-3 hectares. The display of their playful nature and lovely songs make them attractive by all means. They are very adorable to observe.

How do they communicate?

Magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) is a loud bird and displays playful behavior. They communicate through their high pitched calls. Their calls play an integral part in their communication mechanism. The call of a magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) helps in understanding the bird's mood. During their breeding season, magpie shrike (Urolestes melanoleucus) couples can be heard singing duets which are pleasant to the ears while their high-pitched melancholy territorial calls can be rough to the ears.

How big is a magpie shrike?

Magpie shrike species are not that big in size. But due to their black long tail combined, the length range of their body increases a lot. The body length of this species is estimated between 13.4-19.7 in (34-50 cm). And they weigh between 1.9-3.4 oz (55-97 g) for males and 2.5-3.4 oz (70-96 g) for females.

How fast can a magpie shrike fly?

Magpie shrike species fly at a moderate height above ground with quick wing flaps in search of food. The exact flight speed of a magpie shrike bird is yet to be known. But it is vaguely estimated that the flying speed of a magpie shrike is somewhat similar to the other shrike birds, which is around 20-25 mph (32.2-40.2 kph).

How much does a magpie shrike weigh?

Magpie shrike are long-tailed bird species found mainly in the South of the African continent. These bird species are not that big in size, but due to their long black tail attached, they are one of the longest 'small birds who inhabit this world. Their weight range varies between 1.9-3.4 oz (55-97 g) generally.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names assigned to the male and female magpie shrike birds. However the body size or weight may vary a little between males and females (male bird being a little bigger). Their feather colors also differ in some cases. The males have an overall black body with hints of white patterns. But in the case of females, the body colors are somewhat a perfect balance between white and black.

What would you call a baby magpie shrike?

Like other bird babies, magpie shrike bird babies are also called chicks.

What do they eat?

The magpie shrike bird species is an inhabitant of the dry and arid as well as moist African Savannas. And due to that, they enjoy a wide range of diets. Their diet mainly consists of insects and smaller organisms. This shrike species is an omnivorous bird that generally feeds on invertebrates, smaller vertebrates, and fruits from trees. Some of their favorite foods from their food menu are lizards, mice, grasshoppers, ants, and fruits. Magpie shrikes are ace predators at the same time. They sit on tall trees to keep an eye on their prey. They are experts in flying and can easily catch insects in mid-flight also.

Are they poisonous?

Not at all! Magpie shrike species are not poisonous and cause no harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

No, shrikes would not make a good pet. They purely belong to their habitat in the wild. They are birds of prey and need adequate space for roaming around. Magpie shrike birds act impatient in captivity, and in a lot of places, it's illegal to keep a shrike as a pet.

Did you know...

Shrikes are also known as butcherbirds. Their genus name is 'Lanius.' And because the genus name 'Lanius' is derived from a Latin word meaning 'Butcher,' so they are often called butcher birds. Apart from the genus name, they are called butcher because of their hunting style too.

Shrike species have a habit of impaling their prey on branches, thorns, and wedges. There are a few theories available on why they do so. One such is that they have developed this impaling habit because they are birds of prey like hawks but are devoid of strong claws. To develop a better grip on their prey's body while eating, they practice this unusual method.

Are they loud?

Yes, magpie shrike are generally known for their loud sounds. They tend to make sweet chirps during their breeding season but most of the time, they communicate through their loud and screechy voice.

Do shrikes kill other birds?

Magpie shrike's hunting skills are top class. And not just magpie shrikes; all shrike species are predator birds and are ace hunters. They kill and eat anything that is smaller in size. They also kill other organisms of similar size as well. That includes mice, rats, and even other birds. The loggerhead shrike is known to be a predator that eats other birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these grey-cheeked parakeet facts and stilt owl facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable shrike coloring pages.

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