Northern Shrike

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 19 July 2008
Scientific Name
Lanius excubitor
  • Passeriformes
  • Laniidae
  • Lanius
  • L. excubitor
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 5 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
9 to 10 inches


International Names

Czech (Cesky) ťuhýk šedý
Danish (Dansk) Stor Tornskade
Dutch (Nederlands) Klapekster
Finnish (Suomi) Isolepinkäinen
French (Français) Pie-grièche Grise
German (Deutsch) Nördlicher Raubwürger
Italian (Italiano) Averla Maggiore
Japanese (日本語) オオモズ (Oomozu)
Norwegian (Norsk) Varsler
Polish (Polski) Srokosz
Russian (русский язык) Серый сорокопут
Spanish (Español) Alcaudón Norteño
Swedish (Svenska) Varfågel
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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