Habitat

The large bush-shrikes of the genus Malaconotus and the generally smaller species of the genus Telophorus are birds of the forest, occurring in lowland and montane woodland up to 9,800 ft (3,000 m); they are arboreal, often skulking in canopies and sometimes in undergrowth. The puffbacks (Dryoscopus) most often inhabit canopies of forest or other habitats rich in high trees, including suburban gardens. Gonoleks and boubous (Laniarius) occur in all kinds of thickets and dense shrub; they generally live rather low in the vegetation and spend much of the time foraging on the ground. The tchagras are more terrestrial and inhabit a variety of semi-open habitats, generally arid and dominated by dense shrub; the marsh tchagra, however, lives in humid areas dominated by reeds or papyrus. The white-tailed shrike is also a terrestrial bird, typically found in the semi-arid scrub savanna extending from Namibia to southwestern Angola.

Helmet shrikes are found in a wide range of open wooded savannas or woodlands. Highly gregarious groups fly from one tree to another in the search of insects. The most common species, the white-crested helmet shrike, may occur in suburban gardens outside the breeding season.

True shrikes are typical birds of semi-open habitats; they need perches of some kind with a good view on the ground, where most of their prey is taken. Most species have benefited from deforestation and have adapted well to low intensity types of farming. A few species are forest birds, however. The rarest, the Sâo Tomé fiscal, is restricted to primary low-

A white helmet-shrike (Prionops plumata) at its nest. Family parties assist in tending the nest and young in this species—five birds helped tend this nest. (Photo by C. Laubscher. Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

land and mid-altitude forest; it has never been recorded in secondary forest or in cultivated areas.

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