Great Grey Shrike
Lanius excubitor

– medium-sized passerine, slightly smaller than Common Blackbird
– nocturnal/diurnal migrant
– usually migrates singly or in small groups (families?)


Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, 1CY
BIF1432, 24/06/2014, Jüterbog, Germany, Mathias Putze
long black and white tail, black wings with extensive white bases of remiges forming a white wingband, body upperside plain grey, distinct narrow dark eye-mask; 1CY: less defined eye-mask, yellowish base of bill and pale fringes of MC

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, 1CY
BIF1433, 24/06/2014, Jüterbog, Germany, Mathias Putze
white wingband diagnostic also from below, underside plain light-grey

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, AD
BIF1434, 09/09/2009, Havelland, Germany, Mathias Putze
AD with all dark bill and black eye-mask, tail with stepped three white outer rectrices, white wingband broader on primaries

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, AD
BIF1435, 29/10/2012, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze
white wingband broadest on inner primaries, note narrow white trailing edge of inner primaries and secondaries -> Lesser Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, AD
BIF1436, 17/04/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
extension of white on bases of secondaries varies (-> BIF1435), scapulars broad margined off-white, black eye-mask not extending to forehead, bill with distinct hook -> Lesser Grey Shrike

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, AD
BIF1437, 17/04/2013, Prignitz, Germany, Mathias Putze
powerfull undulating flight, thus wings often folded

Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, AD
BIF1438, 29/10/2012, Leipzig, Germany, Mathias Putze



Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, 4 EX, calls during migration
BIF2019, 23/09/2017, Werbeliner See, Germany, Patrick Franke
short, fast and piercing trill, surprisingly similar to -> Dunlin, but higher pitched and lacks initial element

comparison species:
Lesser Grey Shrike (v)
Northern Shrike (v)
Iberian Grey Shrike (v)
Desert Grey Shrike (v)
Asian Grey Shrike (v)
Dunlin (a)

#songbird #passerine

#ornithology #birdmigration #birdID #birdguide #birding #birdwatching #birdsound #westernpalearctic #europe #vismig #flightcalls #middleeast #northernafrica #workinprogress

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