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Lesser Grey Shrike - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by scottishdude
Lesvos, Greece, May 2012
Lanius minor


Photo © by Steve G
Kalloni Saltpans, Lesvos, Greece, August 2003

19–23 cm (7½-9 in)

  • Grey upperparts
  • Black wings with large white primary patch
  • White sides to black tail; tail not conspicuously long
  • Salmony-pink underparts
  • Black facial mask includes the forehead
  • Bill black

Juvenile & first-winter

  • Faintly barred on fresh juveniles; barring lost by early autumn
  • Black facial mask does not include forehead
  • Underparts whiter, not pink-tinged
  • Bill pinky-grey with blacker tip

Similar Species

Great Grey Shrike and Iberian Grey Shrike: longer tail, and in adults within range, the facial mask does not extend up to the forehead.


Photo © by Phylloscopus200
France, June 2006

Breeds in eastern and southeastern Europe (north to eastern Poland, and locally west to Lleida in northeast Spain) and east into central Asia, wintering in southern tropical Africa (south to northern South Africa). Formerly more widespread, including breeding in most of France and north to southern Belgium; of conservation concern. The now tiny Spanish breeding population is being bolstered by reintroduced captive-bred birds.

It is a scarce but regular vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain, usually as a spring overshoot.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Dry open lowlands.


Diet includes large insects, small birds, rodents and lizards.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6

Recommended Citation

External Links

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