Adult Great Grey Shrike (subspecies L. e. excubitor) at Lowick, Northamptonshire - January 2014
OTHER NAMES: Northern Shrike
Featured Subspecies: Lanius excubitor excubitor
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern
The larger of the two Shrike species consistently found in the UK, the Great Grey Shrike is theoretically more numerous than the Red-backed, but took me longer to track down. In its favour, the Great Grey does actually stay in the UK during the Winter, and some sites it even occurs at annually - Thursley Common most notably. However, actually tracking down this bird at those sites isn't necessarily reliable; I made two unsuccessful visits to Thursley via long convoluted trips using both trains and buses before I ended up catching this species a few miles away from my house in Northamptonshire. It seemed a lot more mobile than the Red-backed I saw and was moving up and down a fairly long hedge, presumably searching for the prey that they (in)famously impale on thorns as a larder.
Featured Subspecies: L. e. excubitor, L. e. homeyeri, L. e. leucopterus, L. e. sibiricus, L. e. bianchii, L. e. mollis, L. e. funereus, L. e. invictus, L. e. borealis
- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Rare Wintering species (average of 63 individuals)
- A single bird in Lowick in the Winter of 2014.
Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List