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Lanioturdus torquatus (White-tailed shrike) 

Kortstertlaksman [Afrikaans]; Tapuitklauwier [Dutch]; Lanielle à queue blanche [French]; Drosselwürger [German]; Picanço-palrador [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Malaconotidae

Lanioturdus torquatus (White-tailed shrike)  Lanioturdus torquatus (White-tailed shrike) 

White-tailed shrike. [photo Peter Steyn ©]

White-tailed shrike, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to northern and central Namibia, extending marginally into south-western Angola. Its habitat preferences vary from region to region, e.g. in in northern Namibia, it prefers Colosphermum mopane (Mopane) woodland. In west-central Namibia, it is most common in mixed Acacia, cluster-leafs (Terminalia) and bushwillow (Combretum) woodland.

Distribution of White-tailed shrike in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).


It mainly eats large insects, doing most of its foraging at dawn or dusk, gleaning insects off leaves and branches and occasionally flying to the groud to pick up a prey item. It very rarely drinks or bathes in water, in fact even thought it has been studied and observed many times, there is only one recorded of it drinking water! The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is a shallow cup of woven twigs and rootlets, usually placed in small thicket or bush about 2-3 metres above ground.
  • Egg-laying season is almost year round, usually peaking around November.
  • It lays about 2 eggs which are incubated by both sexes, singing a duet whenever they change shifts.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.