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White-tailed Shrike-Tyrant

Agriornis albicauda

The White-tailed Shrike, or Lanioturdus torquatus, is a diminutive member of the Platysteiridae family, often referred to as the chatshrike or ground batis. This bird is distinguished by its very short tail, which is characteristically carried downwards and adorned with a small black mark at the tip of the central two feathers.

Identification Tips

When observing the White-tailed Shrike, look for its upright posture and the unique behavior of its tail, which unlike many birds, is never held aloft. Both male and female exhibit similar plumage, making sex differentiation a subtle task for the observer.


This species is endemic to the scrub-savanna, thornbush, and mopane-veld, where it can be seen foraging from the ground to heights of up to 25 meters.


The White-tailed Shrike is found exclusively in western Angola and Namibia, where it is a common and endemic breeding resident.


Noted for its large bounds and hopping movements on the ground, the White-tailed Shrike is also a clumsy flier. Its flight is characterized by shallow and rapid wingbeats, akin to those of other batises. During the breeding season, these birds are typically seen alone or in pairs, while at other times, they may form small groups.

Song & calls

The vocal repertoire of this species includes a variety of loud, ringing territorial whistles that can be heard across its habitat.


The White-tailed Shrike constructs its nest in thorny acacias, with both sexes contributing to the building process. The nest is a deep, well-molded cup, often incorporating spider-web, and is situated approximately 3 meters above the ground. The female lays a clutch of 2-3 pale-green to white eggs, sparsely dotted with reddish-brown spots, and she alone incubates them.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the White-tailed Shrike as Least Concern, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers.

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White-tailed Shrike-Tyrants on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Christopher Collins
18 Nov 2018 - 9:41am

More Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura

A photo of a Strange-tailed Tyrant (Alectrurus risora) , male

Strange-tailed Tyrant

Alectrurus risora
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