We arrived an the market of Bagerhat’s Kachua upazila on 8 October 2020 and anchored the boat there. After disembarking, we had a steep climb and then crossed a small bridge. Kachua was south of the bridge and Chaltekhali village of Pirojpur was in the north. Crossing the bridge, we set foot towards the village Chaltekhali. We walked quite a distance. Several birds were calling in the bushes to the left. There was a bird call somewhat similar to a sneeze. We went a little deep and saw three birds in a ditch. A mother bird was searching for food in a heap of leaves and then feeding two baby birds. The baby birds fluttered their wings and chirped for more. A pair of common wood shrikes, locally known as dukka or sudhuka or moine kajol, were jumping on the lower branches of tree. If a bug or insect emerged from the heap of leaves, the pair of wood shrikes snatched it up in acrobatic style at once.

The bird that was in ditch doesn’t come to the ground often. Maybe it was busy feeding the babies. Their main food is small and large insects, small and medium size fruit and tree frog tadpoles, geckos and lizard. Caterpillars are their favorite. They search for caterpillars in sugarcane and jute fields and betel leaf plantations. When they find a colony of caterpillar, they start chirping and feasting. Woodpeckers try hard to find larva there, but these cheeky birds drive them away.

They build their nests in summer and autumn. They make nests on the tree branches and lay a pair of eggs.

The is an Indian cuckoo shrike, known as kabsi in Bengali. Its scientific name is coracina macei. It’s known as boro gudhuka, gachgui and urogui in Bagerhat.

This bird is 28cm long. Its belly is white. There is a dark patch from the bill to slightly behind the eye. The female bird has stripe from belly to chest. Its claws and beaks are slightly darker.

* Sharif Khan is writer on birds and wildlife. This report, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna

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