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Common name Great grey shrike
Scientific name Lanius meridionalis
Type Shrubland birds
Status Resident

Medium-sized bird (approx 25 cm or nearly 10 in), easy to recognize. Bulky, with a long black tail, sturdy bill and ending in the shape of a hook, like that of raptors. A big head with a black mask that covers its eyes. Grey upperparts and head, lighter (grey-pink) underparts and black wings with white stripes.



Where it lives

Open landscapes and borders with scattered trees and shrubs, gardens, fruit trees, grassland, bushes, fields, olive groves and cultivated areas.

How it lives

Resident all year round in the province. Malaga also hosts wintering individuals. It breeds from March-April. Up to three annual layings of 5 to 7 eggs. This bird is a small predator that acts like a raptor but without using the claws. It feeds on large insects, micromammals and lizards and also catches small birds. The Great Grey Shrike uses poles, telephony cables, fences, bushes and high points to hunt its prey by lurking. Once captured it fixes them on the forks of the branches, in the thorns of shrubs, such as hawthorn, or in barbed wire to be able to dismember them with ease.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

This shrike is a widespread but rare bird. It is present, for example, in the Sierra de la Utrera (Casares), in the more open areas of the Sierra de las Nieves or in the Torcal de Antequera. In the Great Path it can be observed in stages 10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 24, 26 and 31.

Curious facts

The Great Grey Shrike is the largest of all shrikes. These birds could be considered as small raptors (for their bill and their feeding and hunting techniques) but with bird's feet, ie without claws. If you find the remains of a prey set in thorny bushes or barbed wire it means that you are in the hunting territory of a shrike.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration