Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)


French: Pie-grièche masquée German: Maskenwürger Spanish: Alcaudón núbico

Lanius nubicus

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,





S Balkan Peninsula and Asia Minor S to Levant, including Cyprus, also in N Iraq and W Iran (Zagros Mts); range limits uncertain, perhaps includes S Turkmenistan and NW Afghanistan. Winters in sub-Saharan Africa and SW Arabia.

Descriptive notes

17–18·5 cm; 14·5–30 g (usually c. 20–23 g). Distinctive smallish, rather slim shrike with small bill and proportionately very long and narrow... read more


Similar to that of congeners. Calls include short repeated harsh “tsr” or “tzr... read more


Favours natural open woodland with bushes and glades, and fond of big isolated trees. Nests in... read more

Food and feeding

Main prey insects; other arthropods and small vertebrates also taken. Among insects, it prefers Orthoptera species, including crickets (... read more


Laying early Apr to mid-Jun, with peak in most areas during first half May, replacement clutches Jun–Jul; starts c. 1 month later in... read more


Migratory. Most spend non-breeding season in sub-Saharan Africa (particularly in NE part of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon and local. provisionally evaluated as declining in Europe, but to large extent insufficiently known. Densities of up to 6 pairs/1·9... read more

Recommended citation

Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2019). Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus). 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 10 December 2019).