The Cave Shrike is one of the few species that has been able to thrive after the Shattering.
Cave Shrikes have a natural instinct to create hidden stockpiles of food, ensuring they can eat even when prey is scarce, which happens often in the harsh environment of Bara Magna. These stockpiles are most commonly made in cool, dark caves, hence their name. The Cave Shrike has a strong stomach and eats very little at a time, so it may stay well-fed for months off of stored food alone. This means that rather than hunting when hungry, a Cave Shrike will simply hunt whenever it sees prey, and store whatever it takes to eat later.
Cave Shrikes hunt by gliding over wide-open land for hours on end, sometimes even days, looking for suitable prey. They fly in winding, erratic patterns, intentionally avoiding the lazy circles of most aerial predators to escape the notice of less intelligent desert animals. Cave Shrikes mostly feed on small land animals like Sand Foxes, although some are big enough to carry off an Agori. When the Cave Shrike has chosen a target, it folds its wings and swoops down blindingly quickly, slicing at its prey with the bladelike feathers on its wings. If the initial swoop is enough to take down its target, it will make a second pass to carry it off for food. If its prey survives, the Cave Shrike will usually abandon the chase and find a new target. This is because despite their sharp metal feathers and deadly speed, the Cave Shrike is a weak fighter with a very fragile body, and will avoid most confrontations that cannot be settled with a single strike.
Cave Shrikes have no natural predators—their thin bodies make for poor meals, and it is much easier for a smart scavenger to simply track down one of their stockpiles of food and raid its contents. A Cave Shrike will usually let its stockpile be eaten rather than fight for it, although if its eggs are in danger, it will fight viciously.
- Swords made from Cave Shrike feathers tend to be brittle, but are seen as great prizes, because claiming a feather from a Cave Shrike requires a Glatorian to be skilled enough to predict a Cave Shrike’s single attack, and fast enough to counter it without injury.