Family Shrikes (Laniidae)

Least Concern

Taita Fiscal (Lanius dorsalis)


French: Pie-grièche des Teita German: Taitawürger Spanish: Alcaudón de los Taita

Lanius (Fiscus) dorsalis


, 1878,

Ndi, Teita, Kenya


May be conspecific with L. somalicus. Records suggest that the two occur together (hence species status accepted here), but confirmation of sympatric breeding awaited, since characters distinguishing dorsalis (lack of white tips on secondaries, deeper bill, reputedly different song#R) are weak. Monotypic.


Extreme SE South Sudan, S Ethiopia and S Somalia (except extreme S coastal zone) S to NE Uganda (Kidepo Valley S to Moroto), NE & E Kenya (absent SE coastal strip from Malindi S to Tanzanian border) and NE Tanzania (lowlands of Serengeti plains E to Kilimanjaro).

Descriptive notes

21 cm; 45·5–55 g. A medium-sized black-and-white shrike with relatively short tail. Male has top and side of head to upper mantle black, and contrasting pale... read more


Little known. Song described as repeated phrases with mix of short whistles, harsh buzzy calls,... read more


Inhabits dry open bush, acacia (Acacia) woodland and other dry open woodland, from sea-... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Feeds mainly on invertebrates, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), caterpillars and spiders (Araneae... read more


Breeds in May in Somalia and in Jan and Jun in Tanzania; season in Kenya Mar–Jun and Dec–Jan, coinciding with rains. Monogamous... read more


Little known. Regarded as resident, but some local movements reported in Kenya, as well as possible... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and common; less common in extreme S of range. Precise limits of distribution uncertain, especially in N. Population estimated at fewer... read more

Recommended citation

Yosef, R. & International Shrike Working Group (2020). Taita Fiscal (Lanius dorsalis). 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 25 January 2020).