Shrikes (Laniidae)

Magpie Shrike (Corvinella melanoleuca) - HBW 13, p. 795

French: Corvinelle noir et blanc German: Elsterwürger Spanish: Alcaudón Pío
Other common names: (Eastern) Long-tailed Shrike(!)

Taxonomy: Lanius melanoleucus Jardine, 1831, Orange River, South Africa.
Sometimes placed in a monotypic genus, Urolestes, because of distinctive plumage coloration and pattern. Treated as congeneric with C. corvina on basis mainly of similarities in morphology (e.g. long tail), vocal communication patterns, and social behaviour (co-operative breeding, gregariousness). Race angolensis sometimes synonymized with nominate, as more rarely is expressa. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • aequatorialis (Reichenow, 1887) - SW Kenya (E Masai Mara Game Park) and Tanzania (from SE L Victoria E to S slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, S to SE L Tanganyika and SW to N L Malawi).
  • angolensis (Meise, 1958) - SW Angola and NE Namibia (NE of Namib Desert).
  • melanoleuca (Jardine, 1831) - S Zambia, Zimbabwe (except SE), Botswana (except large parts of Kalahari) and N South Africa.
  • expressa (Clancey, 1961) - SE Malawi, SE Zimbabwe and NW & C Mozambique S to NE South Africa (Kruger NP and NE KwaZulu-Natal) and E Swaziland.