Red-backed Shrike with a wasp in its beak

NeuntöterA young, rain-soaked Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) has taken advantage of the rain to snag a stunted wasp and proudly display it to the photographer. During the recording, the juvenile red-backed shrike made no attempt to smack the prey against a branch in the manner of many other insectivorous birds – just to mention the also insectivorous European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) – in order to drive the stinger out of the insect’s body. Otherwise, it is frequently reported that Red-backed Shrikes also decomposes the wasps; it cuts off the spine, wings and legs and then eats the insect. A very rainy day in the valley of the river Basköy near İkizdere in the province of Rize in Turkey has already started successfully.

Wasps are part of the normal diet of various birds such as European Honey-buzzard (Pernis apivorus), red-backed shrikes and bee-eaters, but also of larger spiders. Other natural enemies are parasitic wasps, whose larvae feed on the wasp larvae, and cuckoo wasps, which lay their eggs in other wasp nests and have their offspring raised by the host wasps.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic, Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic and beyond.  Trips to various sites to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.


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