Very nice image of a beautiful individual! This is for certain a hybrid shrike, most likely collurio x phoenicuroides, and not a classic 'karelini' (sensu stricto). The dark tail pattern and the contrastingly pale grey head gives it away.
I don´t know what Magnus say´s about this, but a few such suggested hybrids can be viewed on his very own Picasa Webbalbum.
Hi Jan! Yes, though it's important to note that my images concerns collurio x isabellinus (and not collurio x phoenicuroides as above). Cheers /M
Of course, Magnus, not paying enough attention there!
I have moved the foto to the hybrid.
More comments are very welcome.
Interesting, but I'm not definitely sure that the bird in my picture was an hybrid !!
I've seen lot of hybrid in north-western Mongolia and in Altaï (Russian and Kazakh Altaï).
karelini form is really similar to such hybrid, but on my bird the tail is not darker enough I think and the back pattern included neck and head look quite concolour (brownish grey to light grey). I will ask Norbert Lefranc, a firend French Shrike specialist, author with Tim Worfolk of the "Guide to the Shrikes of the World" !
I will let you know.
P.S.: Nice yours pictures Magnus, I am impatient to go back overthere !
Discussions like this tend to get rather complicated without a well founded taxonomic map as a base, and for karelini this is indeed the case. I get the feeling that most authours today seem to favour the view that karelini should be treated as an 'ecological subspecies'. In short this means that a taxon share the geographical boundaries with another taxon of the same species, but they are separated by being adapted to different ecological niches. In this case by alitude, as karelini are generally found in lower lands and phoenicuroides in the mountains. However, there are also those who regard karelini as nothing more than a color morph of phoenicuroides, and yet others who regard the karelini-plumage as a result from geneflow from collurio. If the latter should be true, the discussion concerning your bird will be a bit pointless (since karelini then by definition should have a hybrydisation somewhere in it's heritage).
Regardless of karelini's true taxonomic position, my personal view is that your handsome bird doesn't match a classic karelini. The mantle is a bit darker (warmer) brown and the head is paler and colder grey than normally seen in karelini. These two caracthers are often seen in collurio x phoenicuroides hybrids, and if you then add the color of the tail (which are more or less the same in classic karelini as in phoenicuroides) your bird should, rather safely, be regarded as a collurio hybrid.
Again, this is my personal opinion, and I would find it very intresting if you could post Norberts comments here as well.
Yes, could be interesting to to see Norbets view on this difficult subject - among others.
I for one, think that Magnus reasoning is quite reasonable.
I'm totaly agree with you, and the real good question actually is :"what's really karelini shrike is ?"
Actually is really difficult to found picture of karelini's bird in the web and also published on books or bird magazines. This bird look different than all the hybrids I know (but all from east KZ or Altaï and Mongolia, so hybrid with isabellinus), so maybe an hybrid phoenicuroides x collurio !
I will post Norbert's comments !
You might have seen these claimed karelini images here, although I don¨t know the relevance of those autumn karelin?
And these hybrids?
I've just recieved the comments from my friend Norbert Lefranc (one of the author of the book "Shrike of the world"). Norbert's said : "No certainty in 100 %, but in any cases, it is not a typical karelini: not much marked eyebrow, pink beige nuance on underside; the rather blackish tail and the white restrained mirror really seem to point out a hybrid collurio / phoenicuroides.
There are also birds "brainteaser" intermediaries enter karelini and isabellinus, but in principle they can eliminate them because of the colour of the tail.
Recall : Russian authors think that karelini would be a hybrid stabilized between phoenicuroides and collurio, so...."
Norbert's comments agree Magnus ID, so not a pure Karelini but probably an Hybrid phoenicuroides x collurio !
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