Iberian Grey Shrike

Iberian Grey Shrike, Iberische Klapekster, Raubwürger-meridionalis, Picanço-real, Alcaudón Real

Spotted on our property Monte Horizonte in the Alentejo Region of Portugal.        Iberian Grey Shrike sound

The Iberian Grey Shrike, formerly Southern Grey Shrike, Lanius meridionalis, is a member of the shrike family.

Iberian Grey Shrike, Iberische Klapekster, Raubwürger-meridionalis, Picanço-real, Alcaudón Real

It is closely related to the Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, with which it used to be considered conspecific; where they co-occur, they do not interbreed and are separated by choice of habitat (Sangster et al., 2002).

The race L. m. meridionalis is resident in southern Europe and north Africa. It is slightly smaller and darker than the 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 is sometimes split as a separate species, the Steppe Grey Shrike, L. pallidirostis. It too prefers more arid habitat with sparse vegetation.

This medium-sized passerine bird eats large insects, small birds and rodents. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a “larder”.

The plumage is generally similar to Great Grey Shrike apart from the differences noted above.

The migratory eastern form is a scarce vagrant to western Europe, including Great Britain, usually in autumn.

The Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis), occurring from southern Europe (Iberian Peninsula and France) southwards and also in Central Asia, was formerly included in the Great Grey Shrike; it prefers different habitat (lightly wooded grassland in the Great Grey, more arid shrubland in the Southern Grey Shrike), and where the species’ ranges overlap, they do not hybridize (Sangster et al., 2002).

Other synonyms:

Catalan: Botxí, Botxí meridional
Catalan (Balears): Botxí meridional
Czech: ?uhýk pustinný
Welsh: Cigydd mawr deheuol
Danish: Sydlig Stor Tornskade, Sydlig Tornskade
German: Mittelmeer-Raubwürger, Raubwürger-meridionalis, Südlicher Raubwürger
English: Great Gray shrike, Great grey shrike, Iberian Northern Shrike, northern shrike, Southern Gray Shrike, Southern Gray Shrike (Southern), Southern Grey Shrike
Spanish: Alcaudon Real, Alcaudón Real
Estonian: lõuna-hallõgija
Basque: Antzandobi handia, Botxí meridional
Finnish: Etelänisolepinkäinen
French: Pie-grièche grise du sud, Pie-grièche grise méridionale, Pie-grièche méridionale
Galician: Botxí meridional , Picanzo real meridional
Icelandic: Steppusvarri
Italian: Averla meridionale
Japanese: minamioomozu
Latin: Lanius elegans, Lanius elegans meridionalis, Lanius excubitor meridionalis, Lanius meridionalis, Lanius meridionalis [meridionalis Group]
Dutch: Iberische Klapekster, Zuidelijke Klapekster
Norwegian: Krattvarsler
Polish: dzierzba sródziemnomorska
Portuguese: Picanço-real
Slovak: strakoš prieložný
Slovenian: južni veliki srakoper
Swedish: Ökenvarfågel, Sydlig varfågel


Travel Birdwatching Holiday Alentejo, Vacation Portugal for birders guided birdwatching Tours and Trips.

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Guided Birdwatching in the Alentejo region of Portugal