Forums. Gallery. An adult great grey shrike is a medium-sized passerine about as large as a big thrush, measuring from 22 to 26 cm (8.7 to 10.2 in) long. The lesser grey shrike (L. minor, Balkans to Central Asia) seems to be quite distinct indeed and is sympatric with the grey shrike superspecies between Eastern Europe and Central Asia; it may be more closely related to the small brown shrikes and resemble the bold, aggressive and hard-to-catch grey shrikes because of Batesian mimicry. The tips of the tertiary remiges and the wing coverts are also buffy, with a black band in the latter. Identify species based on their characteristics! [2], The great grey shrike eats small vertebrates and large invertebrates. Males give increasingly vocal displays and show off the white markings of the wings in flight and of the tail by fanning it and turning away from the female. In winter, birds will often assemble in small groups and roost together, particularly to keep warm during the night; this is apparently not initiated with a specific assembly display however. Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita. Apex Predator. [11], The grey shrike superspecies consists of L. excubitor and its parapatric southern relatives. As the nestlings grow, the female broods them, and later on assists in providing food. These "larders" are typically around 1 m (3.3 ft) above ground and can be found anywhere within the birds' territory, but tend to be rather in the general vicinity of nest sites than far away from them. [7] The common English name "shrike" is from Old English scríc, "shriek", referring to the shrill call.[8]. Great Grey (Northern) Shrike - Lanius excubitor Great Grey (Northern) Shrike - Lanius excubitor. The phenomenon is not well understood, however. Little reliable data exists on its evolution; certainly (even though the supposed ancestral shrike "Lanius" miocaenus might not belong in the Laniidae, and probably does not belong in the same genus as L. excubitor) the genus dates back to Miocene times. Male with blurred backgroundo Grey Shrike. The individual phrases may go like tu-tu-krr-pree-pree or trr-turit trr-turit.... To announce that it has become aware of someone straying into its territory – be it a female or male of its species or a large mammal – it gives long shrill raspy whistles like trrii(u) or (t')kwiiet. [38] The maximum documented lifespan, however, is 12 years. Ulisse Aldrovandi, Conrad Gessner, John Ray and Francis Willughby also reported old folk names, mainly from Germanic languages: Wereangel or Wierangel from the Pennines of England (where the bird was noted as a vagrant) as well as Warkangel, Werkengel or Wurchangel in various German dialects (e.g. Half to three-quarters of the hatched young successfully fledge under most circumstances. It will drop down in a light glide for terrestrial prey or swoop hawk-like on a flying insect. Among its superfamily, the closest relatives of the Laniidae are probably the Corvidae (crows and allies). It is only found as a vagrant in Iceland, the British Isles, the Mediterranean region (excluding the Iberian Peninsula and perhaps Romania but including Cyprus), and Korea. Sometimes known in Finnish as Lapland Magpies, Great Grey Shrikes are long-tailed thrush-sized birds with strong, thick-set beaks. On the wintering grounds, pairs separate to account for the lower amount of food available at that time, but if both members migrate they tend to have their wintering grounds not far apart. Large arthropods are the second-most important prey by quantity, though not by biomass; in the latter respect they are only a bit more important than birds, except as food for nestlings where they usually form a substantial part of the diet. [35], Copulation is typically initiated by the male bringing an attractive prey item to the female. [17], The male's song consists of short pleasant warbling strophes, interspersed with fluid whistles. [32], Fledgelings moult part of their juvenile plumage before their first winter, and the rest in spring. [35], Nests are built in April or May more than 1 m (3.3 ft) above ground in trees. Nest: Often in pine trees, at a height averaging 2.5 metres above the ground. Lanius excubitor. Throughout the year, the birds regularly but briefly move through a range up to three times larger than their territory; this is tolerated by territory owners in winter more easily than in summer, and the parts of Europe where all-year residents and winter visitors co-occur typically have population densities around eight[verification needed] birds/km2 (about thirty[verification needed] per square mile) and occasionally more in winter. At first, the female rebuffs the male, only allowing him to feed her. [4], The scientific name of the great grey shrike literally means "sentinel butcher": Lanius is the Latin term for a butcher, while excubitor is Latin for a watchman or sentinel. The gatherings of neighbour groups (see above) cease when nesting is underway, and when the eggs are nearly ready to lay, the male guards his partner closely, perching higher than her to watch for threats and frequently feeding her. the grey is definitely more like grey wagtail, size would match as would the ‘uniform’ description you give. The space above their beak is grey. Apparently, the two species are more efficient in spotting potential nest predators – in particular corvids – early on and mobbing them off cooperatively than either is on its own. (Finnish Breeding Bird Atlas, Finnish Museum of Natural History, University of Helsinki. Name also: Northern Grey Shrike, Northern Shrike. Magpie shrike. The clutch numbers three to nine eggs, typically around seven, with North American clutches tending to be larger on average than European ones. Adults moult on their breeding grounds before going on migration, or before the depth of winter if they are resident. Shrikes. [2] The great grey shrike is carnivorous, with rodents making up over half its diet. The submission gesture to prevent an imminent attack by a conspecific is pointing the beak straight up. The wings are around 11.4 cm (4.5 in) and the tail around 10.9 cm (4.3 in) long in the nominate subspecies, its bill measures about 23 mm (0.91 in) from tip to skull, an… This leads to shifts in population density between regions, as "floaters" move between groups of territorial birds in search of a bountiful unclaimed territory to settle down and/or a partner to mate with. Other adults have occasionally been recorded assisting in feeding a pair's offspring; it is not clear whether these helpers at the nest are offspring of previous years, or unrelated non-breeding "floaters" or breeding neighbours. 637, 1000, Swainson (2008): p. 47, Gessner (1555): p. 557, Aldrovandi (1646), Willughby (1676): pp. The wings are around 11.4 cm (4.5 in) and the tail around 10.9 cm (4.3 in) long in the nominate subspecies, its bill measures about 23 mm (0.91 in) from tip to skull, and the tarsometatarsus part of its "legs" (actually feet) is around 27.4 mm (1.08 in) long. On average, great grey shrikes get a chance at four breeding attempts during their life, with most birds in the wild getting eaten by a bird of prey or carnivorous mammal or dying of other causes before the end of their fifth winter. In this, they have almost a one-in-three chance of success, and consequently the average grey shrike nest is very likely to contain offspring of more than one male. Conifers seem to have become more popular with European L. excubitor in recent decades, but a diversity of deciduous trees is used just as well. Migration: By day. It will usually stay low above the ground in flight, approaching perches from below and landing in an upward swoop. around Frankfurt/Main and Strasbourg) probably mean "choking angel" (cf. Appearance: A long-tailed, thrush-sized, grey, black and white bird that perches with an upright posture. The eggs have a white background colour, usually with a grey hue and sometimes with a blue one; they are patterned with blotches of yellowish- to reddish-brown and purplish-grey, often denser around the blunt end. Shrikes are often 'mobbed' by other birds which recognise them as dangerous predators. The cheeks and chin as well as a thin and often hard-to-see stripe above the eye are white, and a deep black mask extends from the beak through the eye to the ear coverts; the area immediately above the beak is grey. The other three only diverged during the expansion into temperate regions. For such a predatory bird, the indiscriminate use of pesticides (which will accumulate in adult carnivores and inhibit breeding success) around the 1960s probably had a detrimental influence on stocks too. 58–59, 66–67, 151, 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T103718932A118776098.en, "Northern Shrike, Life History, All About Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology", "Effects of Little Owl Predation on Northern Shrike Postfledging Success", Der V.ten Hauptart II.te Abtheilung, Viererley Arten Aelstern – II.te Platte, "A preliminary list of the birds of Seneca County, Ohio", "Identification of the Great Grey Shrike complex in Europe", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Great_grey_shrike&oldid=1002668473, Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from September 2009, Lang and lang-xx code promoted to ISO 639-1, Articles containing Middle English (1100-1500)-language text, Articles containing Swedish-language text, Articles containing Icelandic-language text, Articles containing Norwegian-language text, Wikipedia articles needing factual verification from January 2011, Articles with dead external links from January 2020, Articles with permanently dead external links, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 January 2021, at 15:07. To hunt, this bird perches on the topmost branch of a tree, utility pole or similar elevated spot in a characteristic upright stance some metres/yards (at least one and up to 18 m/20 yd) above ground. In the subspecies around the North Pacific in particular and in females elsewhere too, there may be faint brownish bars on the breast. Throughout the breeding season, in prime habitat, territories are held by mated pairs and single males looking for a partner. The feet are not suited for tearing up prey, however. We estimate the cur-rent size of the Polish breeding population to be 22 000–25 000 breeding pairs. Great Grey Shrike. Breeding takes place generally north of 50° northern latitude in northern Europe and Asia. Linnaeus' binomial name replaced the cumbersome and confusing descriptive names of the earlier naturalist books he gives as his sources: in his own Fauna Svecica he named it ampelis caerulescens, alis caudaque nigricantibus ("light-blue waxwing, wings and tail blackish"), while it is called pica cinerea sive lanius major ("ash-grey magpie or greater shrike") by Johann Leonhard Frisch, who in his splendid colour plate confused male and female. 52–53, Ray (1713), Swainson (2008): p. 47, Harris & Franklin (2000): pp. A Lanius fossil from the Late Miocene Turolian age, c. 6 million years ago, has been found at Polgárdi, Hungary. Their wings are black with large white patches on the wing coverts. The legs and feet are blackish. The great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor) is a large songbird species in the shrike family (Laniidae). Their overall colouration is – apparently plesiomorphically – shared in sub-Saharan Africa by the somewhat more distantly related grey-backed fiscal (L. excubitoroides) which is found from the Sahel eastwards, and Mackinnon's fiscal (L. mackinnoni) of the Congo Basin region. With both giving begging calls, they approach until they are side by side. New posts Search forums. Carrion and berries are rarely if ever eaten; though it might occasionally plunder songbird nests this is not well documented and it is not known to eat eggs. Various contact calls have been described as chlie(p), gihrrr, kwä or wuut. The actual nesting site is chosen by the male; the courtship visits of the female are mainly to form and strengthen the pair bond. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. [9] A whimsical name – presumably from Scotland or nearby England – was "white wisky John" in reference to its wavy and somewhat unelegant flight, during which its large areas of light plumage are conspicuous. The song becomes softer and more warbling as the male shows the female around his territory, and at potential nest sites the male gives a lively chatter containing fluting tli-tli, prrr trills and kwiw...püh calls. [21], The Iberian grey shrike is clearer and usually darker grey above, and not tinged grey but often decidedly pinkish on the belly and particular breast; the white "eyebrow" extends to over the beak, which has typically a larger pale base. [19], The Iberian grey shrike (L. meridionalis) was formerly included in the great grey shrike as subspecies. [15], The general colour of the upperparts is pearl grey, tinged brownish towards the east of its Eurasian range. It occurs in south western Europe (Iberian Peninsula and France). Flurbereinigung) had seriously depleted the number of hedgerows and similar elevated growth formerly common amidst the agricultural landscape. in Fennoscandia, whereas for example borealis seems to be as rare a winter visitor in northern Ohio as it was a century ago. If no prey ventures out in the open, great grey shrikes will rummage through the undergrowth or sit near hiding places and flash their white wing and tail markings to scare small animals into coming out. Females are more prone to migration than males; they do not appear to migrate, on average, longer or shorter distances than males, and consequently are the dominant sex in many parts of the winter range. It is, as noted above, also capable of hovering flights, which last briefly but may be repeated time after time because of the birds' considerable stamina. What's new. The pagpie shrike on the branch Lesser Grey Shrike. Available in a range of colours and styles for men, women, and everyone. Trend justification Data suggest that the species is decreasing in Asia (Yosef and International Shrike Working Group 2016). Regularly Occurring Species. If a female thus encountered finds a male to her liking, she will visit to see whether they get along well and inspect the nesting sites he can offer. He also occasionally turns to sit at a right angle to her. The African species are completely allopatric with L. excubitor; they lack white scapulars (grey-backed fiscal) or wingspots (Mackinnon's fiscal) and differ in some other details, particularly the tail pattern. Small birds are sometimes caught in flight too, usually by approaching them from below and behind and seizing their feet with the beak. [31][34], Great grey shrikes breed during the summer, typically once per year. Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) nesting in the vicinity will also increase the desirability of nest sites to great grey shrikes, which moreover often refuse to prey upon these thrushes' nestlings though the opportunity is there. Our results show that the Polish breeding population of the great grey shrike is still healthy. The Great Grey Shrike, a winter visitor, is now perhaps the most likley to be encountered. Their irises are dark brown. Their upper parts are pearl grey. Indeed, the word loggerhead refers to the relatively larger head of the southern species. Population justification The global population size has not been quantified. [31][33], The basic metabolic rate of the great grey shrike is around 800 milliwatts, or somewhat more than 11 milliwatts per gram of body mass. Great Grey Shrike breed in Scandinavia and are fiercely territorial and so when they arrive in Britain they spread far and wide often back to wintering territories they’ve used before. In Eurasia, fledglings moult into a female-like plumage with the tertiary bars usually remaining in autumn. Their tails are black with white edges. The scapulars (shoulder feathers) are white, and the wings are black with a white bar made up by the bases of the primary remiges, continuing slightly offset onto the bases of the secondary remiges in some regions. New posts New media New media comments New profile posts New review items Latest activity. The male then raises and swings his body left and right a few times, and passes the prey to the female, followed by the actual copulation. The illustrations on the highly variable Long-tailed Shrike are also very thorough. It can best be recognized by the rather large black area above the bill, almost reaching to the forehead and without a white stripe above it. The interior cup is 8–12 cm (3.1–4.7 in) in diameter and 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) deep; it is lined with fine twigs and roots, lichen, hair and feathers. [24], The lesser grey shrike is a smaller and comparatively short-tailed bird. Birds leave for winter quarters a more or less short time after breeding – July to October, with most birds staying to September – and return to nest mainly in March/April, but some only arrive in May. The populations of the Central Asian mountains mostly migrate downslope rather than southwards. Great grey shrikes have also been observed to impale common toads (Bufo bufo) and skin them – by ripping open the back skin and pulling it over the head – to avoid contamination of the meat by the toxic skin secretions. This height varies according to habitat, but while nests have been found almost 40 m (44 yd) up, most are 2–16 m above ground. The Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, as well as other species of family Laniidae, re-cognise humans as potential predators and actively defend nests. In social interactions, birds signal an aggressive stance by a bold upright posture, fanning and then flicking the tail and eventually the wings also as the bird gets more excited. [31], Typically, at least half the prey biomass is made up from small rodents from the Cricetidae (voles, lemmings) and Murinae (Eurasian mice and sometimes young Eurasian rats). Males and females are similar in plumage, pearly grey above with a black eye-mask and white underparts. But most authors cited by Linnaeus – Eleazar Albin, Ulisse Aldrovandi, John Ray and Francis Willughby – called it lanius cinereus major or similar, which is a near-literal equivalent of the common name "great grey shrike". In flight, the wide instead of pointed black tail end of L. minor is characteristic. [23], The loggerhead shrike is hard to distinguish, but the proportion of the head to the beak (which seems stubby in L. ludovicianus by comparison and is all-dark) is usually reliable. Amazon.com: Antique Print-LANIUS EXCUBITOR-GREAT GREY SHRIKE-NORTHERN-Von Wright-1917: Posters & Prints In particular the breast is usually darker and sometimes browner than the rest of the light underside, and may appear as an indistinct band between the lighter belly and white throat. 233, 251, Jønsson & Fjeldså (2006), Harris & Franklin (2000): pp. While the male may briefly take over incubating, his task during this time is to provide food. Flies south September–October, returning in April. As it seems, once an individual great grey shrike has found a wintering territory it likes, it will return there subsequently and perhaps even try to defend it against competitors just like a summer territory. Their cheeks, chin and the stripe above their eyes are white. 60–61, 150–151, Harris & Franklin (2000): pp. Because of the phylogenetic uncertainties surrounding this close-knit group in the absence of a good fossil record, some refrain from splitting them up into distinct species; most modern authors do so however. In less hospitable climes, territories may be more than 350 ha (1.4 sq mi). 62–63, 150–151, Harris & Franklin (2000): pp. 15K 2,753. The type locality of Linnaeus is simply given as Europa ("Europe"). As noted above, it will sometimes mimic songbirds to entice them to come within striking distance. The species was first scientifically described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 edition of Systema Naturae under the current binomial name. The most obvious feature was the large rectangular white patch at the base of the secondaries, about equal in size to the pale patch at the base of the primaries which itself appeared longer than on … £180 plus postage. [22], East Asian L. excubitor are barely sympatric with the Chinese grey shrike. 11152. → Distribution map Distribution: A scarce breeder found in all parts of mainland Finland in semi-open habitats, most often around bogs. [36], Usually more than half of all nests manage to hatch at least one young, and around three-quarters of all eggs laid hatch, suggesting that if eggs are lost before hatching, it usually is the entire clutch. Size group: Thrush-size . Among predators of eggs and nestlings, corvids (Corvidae) – extremely close relatives of the shrikes (Laniidae) as it happens[37] – are most significant. Grey Heron. Group neighbours will respond by performing the same type of flight, and eventually about half the group's members will depart to the meeting location where they will spend several tens of minutes – sometimes more than an hour – chattering, calling, duetting, and excitedly moving about the meeting site (which typically is some small tree or shrubbery). Along the Upper Rhine, between Strasbourg and Heidelberg for example, Linkenom is attested; its origin is unclear. A full clutch of eggs can be produced by a female in about 10–15 days. However, in some countries it is not robustly established; in Estonia only a few hundred are found, with less than 200 in Belgium and some more or less than 100 in Latvia and Lithuania, respectively. It is not known to what extent the birds in such groups are related. [30], Before and after the nesting season, groups of breeding birds will sometimes initiate gatherings; these seem to occur at the boundary of the group's combined range or in the unclaimed land separating it from neighbouring groups. © Copyright: Images: I believe this is the 'koenigi' race of Great Grey Shrike in Lanzarote, Canary Is but happy to hear otherwise if need be. However, all things considered, the grey shrike lineage probably represents the Holarctic sister to the African radiation of fiscal shrikes. [34][39], As remarked above, the great grey shrike has apparently become extinct as a breeding bird in Switzerland and the Czech Republic. Their upper parts are pale grey and their underparts are white. This habit was also put to use in falconry, as fancifully recorded by William Yarrell later. [16], Males and females are about the same size, and do not differ conspicuously in appearance except by direct comparison. It’s size and shape was that of a typical Great Grey Shrike, but the plumage differed in the following ways. The great grey shrike catches its prey and impales it on thorns or even barbed-wire fences Bird then rips its prey, which can be a rodent, bird or insect, limb from limb - often saving some for later It forms a superspecies with its parapatric southern relatives, the Iberian grey shrike (L. meridionalis), the Chinese grey shrike (L. sphenocerus) and the American loggerhead shrike (L. ludovicianus). 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