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Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2005 Least Concern
2004 Not Recognised
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type   Average mass 60.4 g


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 34,200,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 34,200,000
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4 - - -
Population justification: Rich et al. (2004) estimated the global population to number 1,000,000 individuals. In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 250,000-400,000 breeding pairs, equating to 750,000-1,200,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 5-24% of the global range, so a very preliminary revised estimate of the global population size is 3,130,000-24,000,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).
Trend justification: This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan Native Extant   Yes  
Albania Native Extant      
Algeria Native Extant      
Andorra Native Extant      
Armenia Native Extant   Yes  
Austria Native Extant      
Azerbaijan Native Extant   Yes  
Bahrain Native Extant     Yes
Bangladesh Native Extant      
Belarus Native Extant      
Belgium Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Bosnia and Herzegovina Native Extant      
Brunei Vagrant Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes  
Burkina Faso Native Extant      
Cameroon Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant      
Chad Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Croatia Native Extant   Yes  
Cyprus Vagrant Extant      
Czech Republic Native Extant      
Denmark Native Extant     Yes
Djibouti Native Extant      
Egypt Native Extant      
Equatorial Guinea Vagrant Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant      
Ethiopia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant      
Finland Native Extant     Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
Gambia Vagrant Extant      
Georgia Native Extant   Yes  
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Ghana Vagrant Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant      
Greece Native Extant   Yes  
Hungary Native Extant      
Iceland Vagrant Extant      
India Native Extant      
Iran, Islamic Republic of Native Extant      
Iraq Native Extant      
Ireland Vagrant Extant      
Israel Native Extant      
Italy Native Extant   Yes Yes
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Native Extant      
Kazakhstan Native Extant      
Kuwait Native Extant   Yes Yes
Kyrgyzstan Native Extant   Yes  
Latvia Native Extant      
Lebanon Native Extant     Yes
Libya Native Extant      
Liechtenstein Native Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant      
Luxembourg Native Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant   Yes  
Mali Native Extant      
Malta Vagrant Extant      
Mauritania Native Extant      
Mexico Unknown Extant      
Moldova Native Extant   Yes  
Mongolia Native Extant      
Montenegro Native Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Nepal Native Extant Yes    
Netherlands Native Extant      
Niger Native Extant      
Nigeria Native Extant      
North Korea Vagrant Extant      
Norway Native Extant      
Oman Native Extant     Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palestinian Authority Territories Native Extant      
Poland Native Extant      
Portugal Native Extant      
Qatar Native Extant     Yes
Romania Native Extant      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant Yes    
Russia (Central Asian) Native Extant      
Russia (European) Native Extant      
Saudi Arabia Native Extant     Yes
Senegal Native Extant      
Serbia Native Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant      
Slovenia Native Extant   Yes  
Somalia Native Extant      
South Korea Vagrant Extant      
South Sudan Native Extant   Yes  
Spain Native Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant   Yes Yes
Sudan Native Extant Yes Yes  
Sweden Native Extant     Yes
Switzerland Native Extant      
Syria Native Extant     Yes
Tajikistan Native Extant      
Tunisia Native Extant      
Turkey Native Extant   Yes  
Turkmenistan Native Extant Yes    
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes
United Arab Emirates Native Extant     Yes
United Kingdom Native Extant   Yes  
USA Native Extant      
Uzbekistan Native Extant Yes    
Western Sahara Native Extant      
Yemen Native Extant     Yes

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Austria Allentsteig military training area site factsheet
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju site factsheet
Luxembourg Region of Junglinster site factsheet
Luxembourg Region of Mompach, Manternach, Bech and Osweiler site factsheet
Luxembourg Valley of the Attert site factsheet
Russia (European) Bryansko-Zhizdrinskoye woodland site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Desert Hot suitable breeding
Desert Hot suitable non-breeding
Forest Boreal suitable breeding
Forest Boreal suitable non-breeding
Forest Temperate suitable breeding
Forest Temperate suitable non-breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable breeding
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable non-breeding
Savanna Dry major breeding
Savanna Dry major non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable breeding
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable non-breeding
Shrubland Temperate suitable breeding
Shrubland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater Springs and Oases suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater Springs and Oases suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 2800 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Lanius excubitor. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 17/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Laniidae (Shrikes)
Species name author Linnaeus, 1758
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 34,200,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions