Sunday, 7 June 2015

Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)

Adult Southern Grey Shrike (subspecies L. m. meridionalis) on farmland near Madrid, Spain - June 2015

Local Name (Spain): Alcaudón reál ("Royal Shrike")
Featured Subspecies: Lanius meridionalis meridionalis
Weight: 56-80g
Length: 24-25cm
Wingspan: 30-34cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Southern Grey Shrike was formerly considered a subspecies of the Great Grey Shrike which it is visually very similar to.  However, studies discovered that where the two co-exist they don't interbreed and live in different habitats.  Unlike in the UK Shrikes are fairly widespread resident and so for it's country is much easier to see, if still fairly scarce.  There are a number of fairly specific details that can be used to differentiate between the two species, however, as the Great Grey isn't found in Spain, it is fairly safe to identify Grey shrikes as this species.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Laniidae
Genus: Lanius
Subspecies: L. m. meridionalis, L. m. koenigi, L. m. algeriensis, L. m. elegans, L. m.                                 leucopygos, L. m. aucheri, L. m. theresae, L. m. buryi, L. m. uncinatus, 
                L. m. jebelmarrae, L. m. lahtora

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Widespread breeding resident in low densities.
 - MADRID 2015 TRIP: One bird seen on farmland in the vicinity of Madrid (dozens of Summer plumage birds)
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: A number seen briefly from moving vehicles en-route to various locations in Castille-La-Mancha and Extremadura

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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