Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor)


French: Pie-grièche à poitrine rose German: Schwarzstirnwürger Spanish: Alcaudón chico

Lanius minor

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Italy, Spain, Russia = Italy


Geographical variation insignificant and clinal, plumage coloration becoming paler and size larger from W to E; species often treated as monotypic. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. minor J. F. Gmelin, 1788 – NE Spain and S France, Italy (from Piemont E to Venezia, S patchily to Sicily), E Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Balkans (S to N Greece and E to Black Sea), also S Lithuania, Belarus and SW Russia (E to Urals, S to Crimea and Caucasus), S to Turkey, N Syria, Lebanon and N Iraq. Winters in S Africa.
  • L. m. turanicus Fediushin, 1927 – W Siberia (E of Ural Mts) E to Russian Altai and extreme NW China (NW Xinjiang), S to Azerbaijan and NW & N Iran, N Turkmenistan and NE Afghanistan). Winters in S Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    19–23 cm; 41–61·6 g. A medium-sized shrike with long wings (long primary extension), relatively short, rounded tail, and stubby-looking bill. Male nominate... read more


    Territorial calls are long series of “djejek-dschejek-dschijek…”, “kerrib-... read more


    Open habitat with plenty of scattered or grouped trees, and fewer bushes; requires presence of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost exclusively insectivorous, but spiders (Araneae) also consumed; vertebrates such as small mammals or birds taken only very rarely.... read more


    Laying May to early Jun (in C Europe, mean 17th-19th May), replacement clutches to early Jul; one brood. Monogamous; territorial, but... read more


    Long-distance migrant, entire breeding population wintering in S Africa (within a range five times... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to rare. Maximum of 320,000 breeding pairs thought to occur in Europe, with strongholds in Russia and Turkey (each... read more

    Recommended citation

    Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2020). Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor). 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 18 January 2020).