Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Somali Fiscal (Lanius somalicus)


French: Pie-grièche de Somalie German: Somaliwürger Spanish: Alcaudón somalí

Lanius somalicus

Hartlaub and Heuglin#R

, 1859,

Bender Gam, Ker-Singeli-Somals country, Red Sea, Somalia


See L. dorsalis. Monotypic.


Extreme SE South Sudan, Ethiopia (except N & W), Somalia (except SW) and NW Kenya (L Turkana Basin E to Marsabit).

Descriptive notes

20–21 cm; 48–58 g. A medium-sized black-and-white shrike with relatively short tail. Male has top and side of head to upper mantle jet-black, lower-mantle and... read more


Song described as a mix of initial atonal buzzes and rather musical short whistles, e.g. “bur... read more


Very arid and sparsely vegetated habitats: found in acacia (Acacia) short-grass savanna... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds mainly on large arthropods such as beetles (Coleoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera) and mantises (Mantodea); also on small birds and,... read more


Season protracted, taking place during wettest months of year (when food likely to be more abundant); Nov–Feb and Apr–Jul in... read more


Resident. Some possible local movements; two individuals found at Djibouti in Mar and, in S,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common in Somalia; uncommon to frequent in Ethiopia; uncommon and local in Kenya. Status in SE Sudan uncertain; rare or under-recorded in this area,... read more

Recommended citation

Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2019). Somali Fiscal (Lanius somalicus). 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 12 December 2019).