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Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) by alabang, on Flickr
The Brown Shrike is a migratory species and ringing studies show that they have a high fidelity to their wintering sites, often returning to the same locations each winter. They begin establishing wintering territories shortly on arrival and their loud chattering or rattling calls are distinctive. Birds that arrive early and establish territories appear to have an advantage over those that arrive later in the winter areas. The timing of their migration is very regular with their arrival in winter to India in August to September and departure in April. During their winter period, they go through a premigratory moult. Their song in the winter quarters is faint and somewhat resembles the call of the Rosy Starling and often includes mimicry of other birds. The beak remains closed when singing and only throat pulsations are visible although the bird moves its tail up and down while singing.
The breeding season is late May or June and the breeding habitat includes the taiga, forest to semi-desert where they build a nest in a tree or bush, laying 2-6 eggs.
They feed on mainly on insects, especially lepidoptera. Like other shrikes, they impale prey on thorns. Small birds and lizards are also sometimes preyed on. A white-eye (Zosterops) has been recorded in its larder. They typically look out for prey from a perch and fly down towards the ground to capture them.