Southern Grey Shrike
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Lanius meridionalis

The Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis is a member of the shrike family Laniidae.

It is closely related to the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor with which it used to be considered conspecific.

The race L. m. meridionalis is resident in southern Europe and north Africa. It is slightly smaller and darker than Great Grey Shrike, and prefers dry open country.

The race L. m. pallidirostis breeds in central Asia and winters in the tropics. It is much paler than Southern Grey or Great Grey, and may be a separate species Steppe Grey Shrike.

This medium-sized passerine eats large insects, small birds, rodents and lizards. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a “larder’’.

The plumage is generally similar to Great Grey Shrike apart from the differences noted above.

The migratory eastern form is a scarce vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain, usually in autumn.