The Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis) is a member of the shrike family.
It is closely related to the Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) with which it used to be considered conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species); where they co-occur, they do not interbreed and are separated by choice of habitat (Sangster et al., 2002).
Distribution / Description
The race L. m. meridionalis is resident in southern Europe and north Africa. It is slightly smaller and darker than Great Grey Shrike, and prefers dry open country.
The race L. m. pallidirostis breeds in central Asia and winters in the tropics. It is much paler than Southern Grey or Great Grey, and may be a separate species known as the Steppe Grey Shrike. It too prefers more arid habitat with sparse vegetation.
The migratory eastern form is a scarce vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain, usually in autumn.
The plumage is generally similar to Great Grey Shrike apart from the differences noted above.
Diet / Feeding
This medium-sized perching bird eats large insects, small birds, rodents and lizards. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a "larder".
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