Fun Crimson-breasted Shrike Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 03, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Crimson-breasted shrike facts are amazing.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

The crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) is a beautiful bird found in the southern parts of Africa. They are commonly known by the names crimson-breasted gonolek and crimson-breasted boubou in their home range. The generic name, Laniarius, refers to the butcher-like habits of the bird. A fairly common distribution of this bird throughout their local range in South Africa indicates that the species has a considerably large population. Their ability to adapt to any type of habitat condition has resulted in such a huge population of the bird. Researchers have named them near-endemic acacia specialists as the occurrence of acacia trees is marked by their heavy distribution.

These birds mate for life. In the crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) species, both sexes take equal responsibility in building the breeding nest and caring for the young chicks. Identification of these birds in the wild is relatively easy because of their striking colors. The physical description of the yellow-crowned gonolek (Laniarius barbarus) and crimson-breasted gonolek is quite similar but they are not related. Collected images of the species are a pleasure to watch. To learn more crimson-breasted shrike information, keep on reading these amazing facts.

For similar content check out Amazon parrot facts and palm warbler facts too.

Crimson-Breasted Shrike Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a crimson-breasted shrike?

A crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) is a type of Old World songbird endemic to South Africa. These birds are also commonly known by some other names like crimson-breasted gonolek and crimson-breasted boubou.

What class of animal does a crimson-breasted shrike belong to?

The crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) of order, family, genus, and phylum of Passeriformes, Malaconotidae, Laniarius, and Chordata respectively belong to the class Aves, the common class for all birds.

How many crimson-breasted shrikes are there in the world?

Currently, no information is available regarding the total number of crimson-breasted shrikes present in the world. Though the population trend of this bird seems to be increasing. Deforestation and logging did not affect the bird population much. In response to habitat destruction, they expanded their range by moving out of their traditional habitats and settling in new areas.

Where does a crimson-breasted shrike live?

These southern African birds, crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus), or the crimson-breasted gonolek, have an extensive range map. Their bright colors help in the identification of the bird in the wild. Many birds are found in the northern and central parts of South Africa. They also occur commonly in southwest Zambia, south Angola, and south and west Zimbabwe. The crimson-breasted shrike's range map extends till the Kalahari basin and its adjoining areas in the north, beyond that these birds are not found.

What is a crimson-breasted shrike's habitat?

A crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus), belonging to order, family, genus, and phylum of Passeriformes, Malaconotidae, Laniarius, and Chordata respectively, has a vast habitat preference. It primarily occurs in the drier thornbush areas of dry and arid South Africa, especially near the Kalahari region. Another common region where the crimson-breasted shrike species are frequently found is acacia woods. Apart from that, the shrikes are also found in grasslands, savanna, semi-arid scrublands, and among riparian vegetation. However, the crimson-breasted gonolek is totally absent from the great African desert.

Who do crimson-breasted shrikes live with?

Crimson-breasted shrikes are not social though they cannot be considered as a shy species. These birds do not live by forming large flocks. Rather the juveniles prefer to live in solitude. When they become adults, the birds live in pairs.

How long does a crimson-breasted shrike live?

A crimson-breasted shrike of eight years and three months was recorded. However, the exact lifespan of Laniarius atrococcineus (crimson-breasted shrike) is not known.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) lasts from September to April but it reaches the peak between the months of October and November. They form monogamous pairs but might mate with other birds in case one member of the pair dies. The males show their breeding interest in particular females by chasing it in flight and on trees by zigzagging through branches. After breeding, the females lay two to three eggs in a single clutch between August to January. The eggs hatch after incubating them for 15-17 days. The chicks leave the parents' nest within a span of 18-20 days and forage on their own.

What is their conservation status?

According to the Indian Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, the Laniarius atrococcineus (crimson-breasted shrikes) are classified as a species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. The species follows an extremely large distribution throughout the territory of southern Africa. As a result, many crimson-breasted shrikes are commonly spotted in its range suggesting a bulk population of the birds. On top of that, it is also believed that these African birds are following an increasing population trend. All these factors build up strong justifications for the bird to not approach the threshold of endangered or vulnerable species.  

Crimson-Breasted Shrike Fun Facts

What do crimson-breasted shrikes look like?

The crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) of South Africa is one of the most colorful and striking among all shrikes. The forehead, hindneck, and the sides of the head are jet black in color. The black feathers continue up to the rump. The upper tail and the upper wings are made up of black glossy feathers. They have a white stripe. This long white strip is visible on the wings. In adults, the underparts are distinguished from the black upperparts by the bright crimson color and therefore, the name. The juveniles do not have scarlet red underparts like the adults when they are born. The juveniles have a brownish-black appearance at a young age. They have a pale bill and black tail. The crimson underparts become brighter as they become more mature. They share a lot of similarities with yellow-crowned gonolek (Laniarius barbarus).

How cute are they?

In contrast to the dull colors of the loggerhead shrikes, Laniarius atrococcineus (crimson-breasted shrikes) are very colorful. This makes them the cutest shrike of all.

How do they communicate?

The Laniarius atrococcineus (crimson-breasted shrike) is a songbird. They mainly communicate through vocalization. They have a beautiful duet call. The male produces loud and harsh ringing whistles at first which are followed by the snarling and soft calls of a female.

How big is a crimson-breasted shrike?

The length of a crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) ranges between 8.7-9 in (22-22.8 cm). They are similar in size to northern shrikes.

How fast can a crimson-breasted shrike fly?

There is very little information regarding the flying habits of this bird. Its speed has not been accurately recorded yet.

How much does a crimson-breasted shrike weigh?

The weight of a crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) ranges between 1.4-4 oz (39.6-113.3 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and the female species of the bird are referred to as cocks and hens.

What would you call a baby crimson-breasted shrike?

The baby of a crimson-breasted shrike is known as a chick.

What do they eat?

Crimson-breasted shrikes are omnivorous in nature and search for food on open ground. Their diet primarily consists of insects like beetles and their larvae, ants, spiders, termites, bugs, and caterpillars. On some occasions, they also feed on nuts and fruits.

Are they poisonous?

No, it is not a poisonous bird.

Would they make a good pet?

On first thought, the bright colors and wonderful appearance of the crimson-breasted shrike would make you want to pet it. However, because of its wild habits, the bird does not make a good pet.  

Did you know...

It is believed that the bird reflected the color of the German flag. Therefore their German name became Reichsvogel.  Reichsvogel means 'emperor bird' in German.

Do crimson-breasted shrikes migrate?

The crimson-breasted bush shrike or the crimson-breasted boubou of southern Africa is generally a residential species. However, they sometimes show local and seasonal migration, for example, in winter they move to lower altitudes.

Are crimson-breasted shrikes endangered?

Crimson-breasted shrikes are not close to being endangered in the near future. They have a fairly large population in Africa which is not currently threatened. However, they do not fall under any protective conservation plans as of yet.

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 American pipit facts and red-backed shrike facts for kids.

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

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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