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 (which see). 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; 87·2–100 g. Only marginally smaller than formerly conspecific L. giganteus, which is the largest Lanius shrike. Strongly... read more


Not well known and is apparently consistently vocal only at the onset of the breeding season;... read more


In Amur region favours broad river valleys, pastures and cultivated areas dotted with bushes and... 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 from SE Russia. Laying from second half Apr (rarely from start of Apr) to early Jun, fledging mainly in Jun; one brood... read more


A partial migrant; winter quarters, partly overlapping with breeding range, lie mainly in E... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Probably uncommon to rare throughout range. Generally occurs at low densities, in SE Russia ranging from 0·11–0·... read more

Recommended citation

Yosef, R., International Shrike Working Group & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). 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 27 January 2020).