During my school days and when I was a junior member of the Witwatersrand Bird Club, I came across a lively nest of crimson-breasted shrikes situated close to the site where the Kyalami racetrack stands today. This discovery drew significant attention from the Club members and left a lasting impression on me, with the bird’s distinct appearance and chirping call remaining a personal favorite of mine.
I have had the pleasure of spotting the charming red-breasted shrike several times in the dry savanna. However, I had never come across the rare yellow-breasted color variant that was depicted in the initial SASOL field guide from 1995. Fortunately, luck was on my side during a recent birdwatching excursion, and I finally got to catch a glimpse of this elusive beauty.
The yellow variation of the crimson-breasted shrike was spotted in two different locations; the first sighting was to the west of Kimberley, while the second was observed last year at the Mashatu Game Reserve situated in the eastern corner of Botswana.
I managed to capture two photos of the yellow morph of the crimson-breasted shrike. Although the distance and branches in the way made it challenging, the birds were still distinguishable and just as stunning as their regular crimson-breasted counterparts shown in the comparison images.