Shrikes (Laniidae)

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) - HBW 13, p. 776

French: Pie-grièche écorcheur German: Neuntöter Spanish: Alcaudón Dorsirrojo

Taxonomy: Lanius collurio Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
Thought to form a superspecies with L. isabellinus and L. cristatus; has in the past been considered conspecific with one or both of those, but recent genetic analyses support treatment as separate species. Degree of reproductive isolation between this species and L. isabellinus relatively low, and mixed pairs and hybrids regularly occur where ranges overlap in SW, W & C Asia; occasional hybridization with L. cristatus in C Asia. Races intergrade; pallidifrons and kobylini possibly result from influence of these two neighbouring specie.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Lanius collurio Linnaeus, 1758, Europe = Sweden.
Thought to form a superspecies with L. isabellinus and L. cristatus; has in the past been considered conspecific with one or both of those, but recent genetic analyses support treatment as separate species. Degree of reproductive isolation between this species and L. isabellinus relatively low, and mixed pairs and hybrids regularly occur where ranges overlap in SW, W & C Asia; occasional hybridization with L. cristatus in C Asia. Races intergrade; pallidifrons and kobylini possibly result from influence of these two neighbouring species, and are individually strongly variable, such that recognition of either is dubious; species perhaps better treated as monotypic. Additional proposed race, juxtus (described from east Suffolk, in E England), is indistinguishable from nominate. Three subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • collurio Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds Europe (except N, NW & SW) E to W Siberia, S to N Iberia, Sardinia, S Italy, Sicily, Balkans (S to Croatia), C Romania, Ukraine, and plains N of Caucasus; non-breeding S & E Africa.
  • kobylini Buturlin, 1906 - breeds Balkans (S from Bosnia) E to Crimea and Caucasus, S to Asia Minor, Cyprus and NW Iran; non-breeding S & E Africa.
  • pallidifrons H. C. Johansen, 1952 - breeds W & WC Siberia (E to NW Altai); non-breeding S & E Africa.