Lanius bucephalus : butcher bird

butcherbirdThe bird which imitates the cry of various birds is in the world. Performing a complicated song in imitation of the call of various birds (100 birds) which is the origin of the Japanese name, mozu (百舌鳥). Lanius bucephalus’ English name is butcher bird and a (bull headed) shrike. The origin of the name of this butcher bird stabs a twig with meat becoming the bait, and this is because it puts it in the turning point of the branch, and it covers it. By the way, a scientific name is Lanius bucephalus.

Description & Taxonomy

As for the full length, approximately 20 cm, the wing open head become approximately 27 cm. The head greatly has a long tail. The birds wave tails well to turn it. We distinguish the sex in the island design of a color and the chest of the hypereyes line, the bright spot of the wing.

There are 9 classes in birds belonging to the butcher bird family. These are Lanius excubitoroides, Lanius tigrinus, Lanius sphenocercus, Lanius isabellinus, Lanius excubitor, Lanius collurio, Lanius ludovicianus, Lanius cristatus and Lanius schach.

Range & Ecology

In Japan, butcher bird is from Hokkaido to Kyusyu. Basis subspecies perform anniversary habitation, but when it is in a fall, population to be distributed over the northern part and the population to inhabit the mountainous district go south, and move to the low place of the altitude, and winter; do coming flying in the middle of ferry in the South West Island, or do coming flying for wintering in the winter season.

In flesh-eating, I eat grasshopper, a frog, a mouse. There is the habit that pricks a branch and the splinter of the tree with game and is called “a worm or a frog impaled on a branch by a shrike”. By the way, I may attack the small bird. It is a small bird of prey, but eats the nuts such as a goby or the spindle tree in winter.

Use & Conservation

“A worm or a frog impaled on a branch by a shrike” is performed most frequently in autumn, but does not know well what it is performed for. That’s why people doing research try to clarify the ecology of butcher birds. At present, the researchers have advocated five opinions.

By International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), butcher birds receive designation of the slight concern (LC). Butcher birds receive designation of the Red List in Tokyo and Kanagawa.


Butcher birds inhabit the forest and a forest relationship, banks of a river forest, the farming ground which opened out. Butcher birds like a high place because it is easy for you to observe the butcher birds which have stopped at the high place of a tree.

–by S. Iriyama