Northern White-Crowned Shrike

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eurocephalus ruppelli

  • SWAHILI NAME: Mlali utosi-mweupe

Although they are songbirds, their family name, Laniidae, is derived from the Latin word ‘butcher’, while the common ‘shrike’ refers to their shrieking call.

Northern White-Crowned Shrike

Northern White-Crowned Shrike



Daily Rhythm




Conservation Status

least concern


42-58 g


19-23 cm

Northern White-Crowned Shrike

Trivia Question

Shrikes are the only birds in the Passeriformes order that are:


Shrikes, like more than half of the known bird species in the world, belong to the Passeriformes order, which is the largest order of birds. They typically consume seeds, insects, and berries.

Social Structure

These birds are gregarious and as many as a dozen may be in a flock. They also sometimes forage in small groups, but when mating, they can be territorial.


These birds have a range of noisy and harsh calls, including single squeaks or squawks.


From an elevated perch, these shrikes scan the area for prey on the ground. They also eat insects while in flight, glean them from plants, and search for food on the backs of large mammals.


Least concern


Northern white-crowned shrikes mainly eat insects such as beetles and grasshoppers. When they eat butterflies, they tear off the wings.


Monogamous pairs construct nests from grass and spider webs in trees. Both parents—and sometimes offspring from a previous brood—will help raise the hatchlings, which can remain dependent for around three months.

Friends & Foes

Birds of prey can be threatening.

Population in Kenya

They are found in most of east Africa.

Range & Habitat

These birds are found in eastern Africa.

Northern white-crowned shrikes prefer dry bush, open acacia woodland, and other arid habitats; they also frequent gardens and parks.

Did you know?

Shrikes, like eagles and other birds of prey, have hooked beaks with toothlike spikes, which let them kill their prey quickly.