354 Lesser Grey Shrike
(Lanius minor)


19-21cm. Size between Great Grey and Red-backed Shrikes. Large rounded head, stout bill. Like Great Grey (similar colours and white primary patch), but adult differs in black forehead and forecrown (solid black and more extensive on male, smaller and mottled grey on female), longer primary projection and proportionately slightly shorter and less strongly rounded tail. Breast and belly pale salmon-pink. - Juvenile: Lacks black on forehead. Vermiculated on crown and mantle, but not below (reverse of juv. Great Grey).


In Hungary the Lesser Grey Shrike is a regular breeder, and can be fairly common locally. While the majority of the Hungarian population breeds on the Great Plain, fairly common in the Kiskunság, in the Southern Great Plain, Jászság, Heves Plain, Borsodi-Mezőség, the Hortobágy and Bihar Plain. Breeds sporadically in Transdanubia and in the northern part of Hungary. Primarily characteristic on lowlands, occupying predominantly windbreaks, open grasslands and pastures scattered with trees and bushes, open woodlands and patches of woods, as well as other open areas partly covered by arboreal vegetation. Its population has been increasing in the past ten years. Migrant. In spring arrives in early May, leaves in late August in autumn, however some individuals might occasionally be observed in mid-September.

354 Lesser Grey Shrike pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008