|Latin name:||Lanius excubitor|
|English name:||Great gray shrike|
|Body length, cm:||24–25|
|Body weight, g:||50–80|
|Features:||large sizes, head pattern, tail length, hunting method|
|Number, thousand pairs:||257–363|
|Guard Status:||SPEC 3, BERNA 2|
|Habitats:||View of rural cultural landscapes|
|Additionally:||Russian description of the species|
The bird is medium-sized, has an elongated, but at the same time compact body, the top is ash gray (including the “cap” on the head), a wide black stripe stretches from the beak through the eye, the bottom is white, the wings and tail are mostly black. The beak is strong and hooked. , tail long, stepped Sexual dimorphism is practically absent.
Spread. The species is sedentary and migratory, represented by 15 subspecies in Eurasia, Central and North Africa and North America. The European range is very fragmented in the central parts. Winters in the south of the range, up to the shores of the Mediterranean. In Italy, it occurs regularly in small quantities and hibernates in the northern regions; in ancient times it nested in the Alps.
Habitat. Inhabitant of open areas: fields, meadows, wastelands, with sparse shrub and woody vegetation. Locally found on heaths, forest belts, orchards, floodplain bushes, malls, city parks.
Biology. It nests on trees and tall bushes, usually locates a nest in the fork of large branches, in plain sight. The bowl of the nest is large, made rather roughly, a retinue of branches, stems, roots, dry grass, moss and feathers. From the end of March it lays 4-7 greenish-white eggs with brown spots. The female incubates mainly, 15-17 days. Chicks fly out on the 15-18th day of life. One or two masonry per year. The character is aggressive, little sociable. The gray shrike does not tolerate rivals and invasion of its territory. Low flies, deep diving flight. The song is fast and quiet, includes creaking and melodic stanzas. He prefers to hunt, waiting and diving for prey from an elevation.
Interesting fact. The number of gray shrike is declining in most of the European range due to changes in habitat, the use of pesticides and adverse weather conditions during the breeding season.
Related species. Black-faced shrike (Lanius minor) is smaller and has a black forehead. Breeds in Europe, including Italy, and in Central and West Asia, migrates long distances for wintering in South Africa. Like other species of shrikes, it is in danger of declining numbers.
Gray Shrike (Lanius excubitor)