Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Chinese Grey Shrike (Lanius sphenocercus)


French: Pie-grièche de Cabanis German: Keilschwanzwürger Spanish: Alcaudón chino

Lanius sphenocercus


, 1873,

“probably Canton”, China


Until recently considered conspecific with L. giganteus (see below). Monotypic.


E Mongolia E to SE Russia (Amur region and S Ussuriland), NE & NC China (Inner Mongolia, NE Liaoning, probably also Heilongjiang and Jilin, S to Gansu, Shaanxi and Shanxi), N & C Korean Peninsula; non-breeding mainly E & SE China and Korea.

Descriptive notes

c. 29–31 cm; 85–100 g. The largest Lanius shrike, with strongly graduated tail (graduation 3–4·5 cm). Nominate race has black facial mask... read more


Not well known; combination of harsh notes and whistles, and generally considered similar to that... read more


Nominate race in Amur region favours broad river valleys, pastures and cultivated areas dotted with... read more

Food and feeding

Opportunistic feeder. Diverse range of prey consisting of arthropods (mainly insects) and small vertebrates, the latter forming significant... read more


Data available only for nominate race in SE Russia. Laying from second half Apr (rarely from beginning of Apr) to early Jun, fledging... read more


Race giganteus appears to be resident, undertaking only local and altitudinal movements.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Status considered insufficiently known. Probably uncommon to rare throughout range. Generally occurs at low densities, in SE Russia ranging from 0... read more

Recommended citation

Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2017). Chinese Grey Shrike (Lanius sphenocercus). 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 14 December 2017).