Shrikes (Laniidae)

Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) - HBW 13, p. 786

French: Pie-grièche grise German: Raubwürger Spanish: Alcaudón Norteño
Other common names: Grey Shrike; Northern Shrike (borealis, invictus); North Siberian Shrike (sibiricus); Steppe Shrike (homeyeri); Altai Shrike (mollis)

Taxonomy: Lanius excubitor Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with L. ludovicianus, L. meridionalis and L. sphenocercus. Sometimes treated as conspecific with L. meridionalis, but the two overlap slightly in range, with little intergradation, in C Asia. Geographical variation complex and not fully understood, and obscured by individual variation and intergradation between races; in Nearctic, invictus apparently interbreeds with borealis in C Canada (NE Manitoba and N Ontario) and is sometimes synonymized with latter; sibiricus and mollis intergrade in NW Mongolia. Prop.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Lanius excubitor Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with L. ludovicianus, L. meridionalis and L. sphenocercus. Sometimes treated as conspecific with L. meridionalis, but the two overlap slightly in range, with little intergradation, in C Asia. Geographical variation complex and not fully understood, and obscured by individual variation and intergradation between races; in Nearctic, invictus apparently interbreeds with borealis in C Canada (NE Manitoba and N Ontario) and is sometimes synonymized with latter; sibiricus and mollis intergrade in NW Mongolia. Proposed race leucopterus (from upper R Naryn, in Kyrgyzstan) regarded as synonymous with homeyeri. Eight subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • invictus Grinnell, 1900 - breeds Alaska (except N) and NW & NC Canada (Yukon and Northwest Territories, and extreme N British Columbia E to N Ontario); non-breeding S Canada and most of W & C USA.
  • borealis Vieillot, 1808 - breeds NE Canada (N Ontario and N & C Quebec E to Labrador); non-breeding SE Canada and C & E USA.
  • excubitor Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds N, C & NE Europe (E from Scandinavia and C France) E to NW Siberia (lower R Ob), S to S Russia (Kazan area); non-breeding S Scandinavia, Britain and W & S France E to Asia Minor, Caucasus and Transcaspia.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • invictus Grinnell, 1900 - breeds Alaska (except N) and NW & NC Canada (Yukon and Northwest Territories, and extreme N British Columbia E to N Ontario); non-breeding S Canada and most of W & C USA.
  • borealis Vieillot, 1808 - breeds NE Canada (N Ontario and N & C Quebec E to Labrador); non-breeding SE Canada and C & E USA.
  • excubitor Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds N, C & NE Europe (E from Scandinavia and C France) E to NW Siberia (lower R Ob), S to S Russia (Kazan area); non-breeding S Scandinavia, Britain and W & S France E to Asia Minor, Caucasus and Transcaspia.
  • sibiricus Bogdanov, 1881 - breeds C & E Siberia E to Kolyma Basin, Anadyrland and Chukotsk Peninsula, S to L Baikal, N Mongolia and SE Russia (N Amurland), possibly also N Kurils (Paramushir I); non-breeding SC Siberia, Mongolia, NE China (N Manchuria, perhaps N Hebei) and Ussuriland.
  • homeyeri Cabanis, 1873 - breeds SE Europe (E Balkans, Bulgaria, S Romania, Ukraine E to foothills of S Urals) and SW Siberia (E to N foothills of Altai, including Naryn region); non-breeding SW & C Asia.
  • mollis Eversmann, 1853 - breeds CS Russia (Altai and Sayan Mts) and NW Mongolia; non-breeding also N China.
  • funereus Menzbier, 1894 - Dzhungarian Alatau Mts (E Kazakhstan) and S & E Tien Shan (Kyrgystan-NW China).
  • bianchii E. J. O. Hartert, 1907 - breeds Sakhalin I and S Kuril Is; non-breeding N Japan (Hokkaido, rarely farther S).