Shrikes (Laniidae)

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator) - HBW 13, p. 793

French: Pie-grièche à tête rousse German: Rotkopfwürger Spanish: Alcaudón Común
Other common names: Woodchat; Eastern Woodchat Shrike (niloticus)

Taxonomy: Lanius Senator Linnaeus, 1758, “Indiis”; error = Rhine valley, Germany.
Geographical variation partly clinal, amount of white at tail base increasing from W to E. Validity of race rutilans has been questioned; possibly better merged with nominate. Proposed race hensii (from Sicily) synonymized with nominate. Four subspecies generally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • senator Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds patchily from N Spain and C & S France (mainly Languedoc-Roussillon and Côte d’Azur) E to Sicily and Greece (including Corfu, Crete and most bigger islands in Aegean Sea), coastal Balkans E to S Bulgaria and W Turkey, and also locally and irregularly in Switzerland, SW Germany (upper Rhine Valley, foothills of Swabian Mts, Saarland), SE Poland and SW Slovakia; non-breeding W & C Africa.
  • rutilans Temminck, 1839 - breeds Iberian Peninsula (except N Spain) and NW Africa, from Moroccan Atlantic coast E to NW & NE Libya, S to S slopes of Anti-Atlas and Middle and High Atlas; non-breeding W Africa.
  • badius Hartlaub, 1854 - breeds islands in W Mediterranean (Balearics, Capraia, Corsica, Sardinia); non-breeding W Africa.
  • niloticus (Bonaparte, 1853) - breeds Cyprus, S & E Turkey, Levant and N Iraq (Kurdistan) E to Iran (Zagros Mts; possibly also SE to Baluchistan and in Elburz Mts); non-breeding E Africa and SW Arabia.