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Northern Shrike

Northern Wheatear
Northern Shoveler

About the Northern Shrike

Also known as: Great Grey Shrike

The Northern Shrike, or Great Grey Shrike as it is known in Europe, is a migratory bird that can found in northern Europe and Asia and in North America. It is known for impaling captured prey upon a sharp point, such as a thorn or the barbs of barbed wire. Thus secured they can be ripped with the strong hooked bill of the Northern Shrike, as its feet are not suited for tearing.

It looks much like a Loggerhead Shrike, but the Loggerhead Shrike is smaller and its black mask extends across the forehead above the beak, which is usually not the case with the Northern Shrike. Finally, the beak of the Northern Shrike is longer than that of the Loggerhead.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 19 July 2008
Scientific Name Lanius excubitor
  • Passeriformes
  • Laniidae
  • Lanius
  • L. excubitor
Birdorable Family Corvids, Shrikes & Friends
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 27 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
9 to 10 inches
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe Central Asia East Asia South Asia North America United States (West) United States (East)

International Names

  • ťuhýk šedý (Czech)
  • Stor Tornskade (Danish)
  • Klapekster (Dutch)
  • Isolepinkäinen (Finnish)
  • Pie-grièche Grise (French)
  • Nördlicher Raubwürger (German)
  • Averla Maggiore (Italian)
  • オオモズ (Oomozu) (Japanese)
  • Varsler (Norwegian)
  • Srokosz (Polish)
  • Серый сорокопут (Russian)
  • Alcaudón Norteño (Spanish)
  • Varfågel (Swedish)

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Spot the Differences

Spot the Differences

The Loggerhead Shrike and Northern Shrike can both be found across North America, so how do you tell them apart? Well, there are three important differences between these two species: 1. The ... more