Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus)


French: Pie-grièche à bandeau German: Rotschulterwürger Spanish: Alcaudón dorsicastaño

Lanius vittatus


, 1826,

Pondicherry, India


Separated geographically from L. collurioides by R Brahmaputra. Resembles L. schach in vocalizations. Races intergrade in E Pakistan (NW Punjab and Sind). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. v. nargianus Vaurie, 1955 – SE Turkmenistan, E Iran (Hormuzgan, Sistan and Baluchistan, probably also Khorasan), Afghanistan and Pakistan (Baluchistan E to Sind and Punjab); breeding recently recorded in Oman (Musandam)#R and United Arab Emirates#R.
  • L. v. vittatus Valenciennes, 1826 – S & E Pakistan, Kashmir, India (except N & NE) and S Nepal.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 18–26 g. A comparatively small shrike with relatively long and graduated tail. Nominate race has black forehead and facial mask, pale grey crown and... read more


    Song a pleasant, rambling warble intermixed with harsh notes and much mimicry. Call a harsh... read more


    Variety of open, dry bushy areas with scattered trees, also cultivated areas and edge of more... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively insects, mainly beetles (Coleoptera) and Orthoptera, also Lepidoptera, Neuroptera, flies (Diptera) and Hymenoptera;... read more


    Season May–Jul in Turkmenistan, Mar–Aug in Pakistan, and in India Apr–Jul in NW, Feb–Sept in C and in Feb–Apr... read more


    Resident and migratory. Race nargianus mainly migratory, but little information about... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common in India and Pakistan; sparse information from Iran but at least locally common, e..g. in Genu Protected Area and near Chabahar;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Yosef, R., International Shrike Working Group & de Juana, E. (2019). Bay-backed Shrike (Lanius vittatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 8 December 2019).