Contributed by Lee Kai Chong 23rd Dec 2015
Flying back with the centipede to feed the chicks.
Earlier this month I noticed a pair of Long-tailed Shrikes, Lanius schach, catching centipedes at an open field at the Jurong Central Gardens. In less than one hour it caught ten of these centipedes. When it flew off to a tree near by, I knew it was bringing back food to feed its young.
Well camouflaged nest inside the tree by a main walkway
The nest was inside a 3 meter tree next to a main walkway used frequently by pedestrians. But no one seem to noticed it as it was well hidden inside and camouflaged. I noticed two chicks with feathers in it.
Parents taking turns to feed the two chicks.
The parents were skittish and watchful. I can see that they feel harassed whenever someone comes close to their nest. I decided to stay a good distance away in order to document their nesting.
Centipedes were the main food for the chicks. But bugs and beetles were also given.
Their main diet were centipedes, supplement by bugs and beetles. An earlier report by Connie Khoo also mentioned that centipedes were the chick’s main diet as well. Once I saw the parent catching a lizard and smashing it on the ground before bringing back to the nest.
Like all parents, they still feed the juveniles while teaching them how to look for food themselves.
Both chicks successfully fledged two days later. When I visited the site early this week, I was happy to see both chicks were fully grown and flying around by themselves. One of them were seen trying to pick up food for itself though the parents were still seen feeding them, mostly on the trees and occasionally on the ground.
It is a wonder that birds like this Long-tailed Shrike was able to adapt and nest successfully in our urban parks and add to its diversity.