Whilst not as rare as the Red-Backed Shrike, the Woodchat Strike is an uncommon sight in the UK and so is also on the rare bird list for Twitchers in the UK. In southern Europe its numbers are declining but it is still a common sight between March and early October. It has a delightful habit of landing in conspicuous places so if you are in Portugal at the moment and they are around you should spot them.
The one on the fence we observed in April near the railway line in Olhão, and the one in the tree was further east in the National Forest between Monte Gordo and Vila Real de Santo António spotted when we were searching for chameleons. My title therefore is a little bit misleading but I love the collective noun for these birds so had to share it with you!
Their Portuguese name is Picanço-barreteiro, and the males are unmistakable with their ‘rusty’ cap, black mask and long tail.
My little bit of research for this post suggests there is a bit of a debate going on in the birding world at the moment about the species and exactly how many sub-species there are in Europe. If you though are more interested in collective nouns then check out A Fling of Sandpipers and My Dropping of Sheldrakes. More will be following soon.