Eurocephalus anguitimens (Southern white-crowned shrike, White-crowned shrike) 

Kremetartlaksman [Afrikaans]; Witkruinklauwier [Dutch]; Eurocéphale à couronne blanche [French]; Weißscheitelwürger [German]; Picanço-de-coroa-branca [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Laniidae

Eurocephalus anguitimens (Southern white-crowned shrike, White-crowned shrike)  Eurocephalus anguitimens (Southern white-crowned shrike, White-crowned shrike) 

Southern white-crowned shrike, Etosha National Park, Namibia. [photo Toby Austin ©]

Southern white-crowned shrike, Etosha National Park, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from the North West and Limpopo Provinces to south-Eastern Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and northern Namibia, extending marginally into southern Angola. It generally favours savanna woodland with sparse ground cover, as well as deciduous and riverine woodland.

Distribution of Southern white-crowned shrike in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats insects, often perching in a prominent position, searching for a food item. Once it spots something it dives to the ground and catches it. It also hunts at ground level and often joins mixed-species flocks. The following food items haven recorded in its diet:


  • A facultative cooperative breeder, meaning that the alpha female and male or assisted by about 1-4 helpers.
  • The breeding pair as well as group members construct the nest, which is a neat cup built of fine, shredded grass reinforced with spider web. It is typically placed in the horizontal fork of a branch.
  • Egg-laying season peaks from October-November.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which in one observation where incubated mainly by the alpha female for about 20 days.
  • The chicks are cared for by both group members and the breeding pair, leaving the nest after about 19-20 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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