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Re: Herbs to Carns

>What about the shrike (butcher bird)?  It's a song bird that is an active 
>predator.  It will use it's sharp bill to kill lizards and mice.  All 
>other songbirds are seed or fruit eaters.  It had to have evolved from 
>one of these.  


Most songbirds (Passeriformes, suborder Oscines) are NOT seed or fruit
eaters, but are primarily insectivorous (though most will take fruit or
seeds at times).  These include groups like larks, swallows, thrushes,
babblers, warblers, flycatchers (and the many Australasian warbler- and
flycatcher- like forms, probably independently derived), pipits, chickadees,
nuthatches, vireos, American wood warblers, etc etc.  There are
comparatively few obligate frugivores, mostly specialists, even fewer leaf
eaters (the kokako of New Zealand is one; seed eaters are mostly in the
various finch, bunting and sparrow families (not to mention larger predators
and omnivores like crows and jays).

Shrikes probably evolved from insectivores, not herbivores.  The name
"butcherbird", by the way, is also used for the Australian Cracticus spp.,
unrelated to the "true" shrikes.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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