Sunday Inspiration – Shrikes and Vireos

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by ©Wiki

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by ©Wiki

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

Shrikes are passerine birds of the family Laniidae. The family is composed of thirty-three species in three genera. The family name, and that of the largest genus, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for “butcher”, and some shrikes are also known as “butcher birds” because of their feeding habits. They are fairly closely related to the bush-shrike family Malaconotidae.

Most shrike species have a Eurasian and African distribution, with just two breeding in North America (the loggerhead and great grey shrikes). There are no members of this family in South America or Australia, although one species reaches New Guinea. The shrikes vary in the extent of their ranges, with some species like the great grey shrike ranging across the northern hemisphere to the Newton’s fiscal which is restricted to the island of São Tomé. They inhabit open habitats, especially steppe and savannah. A few species of shrike are forest dwellers, seldom occurring in open habitats. Some species breed in northern latitudes during the summer, then migrate to warmer climes for the winter.

Shrikes are medium-sized birds, up to 50 cm (20 in) in length, with grey, brown, or black and white plumage. Their beaks are hooked, like that of a bird of prey, reflecting their predatory nature, and their calls are strident.

Shrikes are known for their habit of catching insects and small vertebrates and impaling their bodies on thorns, the spikes on barbed-wire fences or any available sharp point. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently sized fragments, and serves as a cache so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time.

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) by Anthony 747

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) by Anthony 747

By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. (Psalms 104:12 NKJV)

The vireos make up a family, Vireonidae, of small to medium-sized passerine birds (mostly) restricted to the New World. They are typically dull-plumaged and greenish in color, the smaller species resembling wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. They range in size from the Chocó vireo, dwarf vireo and lesser greenlet, all at around 10 centimeters and 8 grams, to the peppershrikes and shrike-vireos at up to 17 centimeters and 40 grams.

Most species are found in Middle America and northern South America. Thirteen species of true vireos occur farther north, in the United States, Bermuda and Canada; of these all but Hutton’s vireo are migratory. Members of the family seldom fly long distances except in migration (Salaman & Barlow 2003). They inhabit forest environments, with different species preferring forest canopies, undergrowth, or mangrove swamps.

Males of most species are persistent singers. Songs are usually rather simple, monotonous in some species of the Caribbean littoral and islands, and most elaborate and pleasant to human ears in the Chocó vireo and the peppershrikes. (Info from Wikipedia)

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And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; (Genesis 28:3 KJV)

And Jacob said unto Joseph, God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, (Genesis 48:3 KJV)

Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (Revelation 11:17 KJV)

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. (Revelation 15:3 KJV)

Listen to Nell Reese play as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

“El Shaddai” – by Nell Reese

“El Shaddai” means “God Almighty”

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Shrike – Wikipedia

Vireo – Wikipedia

Sharing The Gospel

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