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Once were Crimsonbreasted Shrikes - Walk in Africa
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Walk in Africa / Birds  / Once were Crimsonbreasted Shrikes
7 Jun

Once were Crimsonbreasted Shrikes

The Central Kalahari was exquisite and we saw so much that was special but before I even begin this blog I must get something of my (not-crimson) chest . . .

I am sick of these bird name changes! It was bad enough that southern Africans had to

adopt most of the East African names but the changes of common names just seem to continue. I am beginning to wonder whether the conspiracy theorists aren’t correct and it is all just a ploy to increase sales of bird guide books!

So if you call this a Crimson Boubou, tough luck because (a) it doesn’t care, (b) it remains Laniarius atroccineus and (c) I still consider it a Crimson Breasted Shrike!

What is infinitely more interesting is that these dashing birds are one of the brood hosts to the Black Cuckoo. This means that instead of building their own nests, Black Cukoos lay their eggs in the nests of Crimson Breasted Shrikes (or Boubou Shrikes) for the host parents to incubate and rear. The Cuckoo lays a single egg in each parasitized Shrike nest and will sometimes eat one of the Shrike’s eggs.

While this may seem like a lazy and easy strategy on the part of the Cuckoo, it is in fact a very challenging approach to reproduction. The Shrikes are extremely alert and will reject the Cuckoo egg or even abandon the entire nest if they detect a strange egg. In addition it takes great perseverance and cunning for the Cuckoos to infiltrate and successfully lay an egg in the Shrike’s nest. So the strategy of brood parasitism is very energy expensive and risky.

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