Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Bull-headed Shrike (Lanius bucephalus)


French: Pie-grièche bucéphale German: Büffelkopfwürger Spanish: Alcaudón bucéfalo

Lanius bucephalus

Temminck and Schlegel

, 1845,



Perhaps sister to L. collurio and L. isabellinus, based on genetic study#R; further work needed. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. b. sicarius Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1928 – S Gansu, in C China.
  • L. b. bucephalus Temminck & Schlegel, 1845 – SE Russia (Ussuriland), NE China (S Heilongjiang S to Hebei and Shandong), Korea, S Sakhalin, S Kurils, Japan (including many smaller islands), Ryukyu Is, Daito Is and Ogasawara (Bonin) Is; non-breeding also E & SE China.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–20 cm; male 35–46 g, female 34–52 g. A medium-sized shrike with relatively long tail. Male nominate race has rufous crown, black facial mask from lores... read more


    Male song, from top of tree or utility pole, a repeated trilling “gyun-gyun-gyun”,... read more


    Wide range of open habitats, e.g. farmland, suburban parks, gardens in villages, areas with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, especially beetles (Coleoptera); also small vertebrates; some seeds also taken. In study in C Japan (Shizuoka), 49 pellets... read more


    In Japan, laying from Apr to Jul in N (Hokkaido) and, in C regions, from early Mar to late Jun in Mie and from late Feb to late Jul in... read more


    Migratory, partially migratory and resident. Summer visitor in SE Russia, Sakhalin and NE China,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Not uncommon in much of range; declining. Nominate race declining in Japan, where breedings pairs observed at less than half the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2020). Bull-headed Shrike (Lanius bucephalus). 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 19 January 2020).