grey shrike complex

New shrike study suggests splits

Published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, the study of Olsson et al looked at 18 taxa in the Great Grey and Southern Grey Shrike complex, as well as related species Chinese Grey and Loggerhead Shrikes, and Somali Fiscal, to establish what relationships there were between them, based onmitochondrial DNA. When comparing the mitochondrial gene tree from their investigations to the existing accepted taxonomy, the study found manydiscrepancies. Several subspecies of great grey and southern were in factshown to be more closely related to the other species.

The recovered mitochondrial DNA tree shows a deep split between two large clades, representing up to several million years of differentiation. In this tree, the 18 taxa of Grey Shrike complex are non-monophyletic, with some subspecies being more closely related to three universally recognized species: Somali Fiscal L.somalicus, Loggerhead Shrike L. ludovicianus and Chinese Grey Shrike L. spenocercus.

The latter clade furthermore includes not only one Neartic (borealis) and four North-eastern Paleartic subspecies (mollissibiricusfunereus and bianchii, but remarkably, also meridionalis!

The second large clade contains, among others, nominate Great Grey Shrike excubitor, North African taxa (eg. algeriensiselegans and koenigi), and South-western Asian taxa (eg. pallidirostris).

The striking outcome is the placement of excubitor and meridionalis which is in conflict with usual taxonomy and surprising when considering both geography and plumage variation: excubitor is morphologically similar to neighbour sibiricus while meridionalis is similar to nearby North African taxa.

CSNA schema

 Fig. 1. Summary of phylogenetic relationships in Great Grey Shrikes found by Olsson et al (2010)

The 18 taxa in the Great Grey and Southern Grey Shrike complex

Great Grey Shrikes:

Lanius excubitor excubitor  Linnaeus, 1758 / synonyms: Lanius melanopterus Brehm, 1860 / Lanius borealis europaeus Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius europaeus  Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius rapax Brehm, 1854 / Lanius galliae Kleinschmidt, 1917

English name: Great Grey Shrike

Lanius excubitor homeyeri   Cabanis, 1873 / synonyms: Lanius excubitor stepensis Gavrilenko, 1928

English name: ‘Steppe Grey Shrike’ earlier applied to L.(e.) homeyeri Dement’ev & Gladkov 1968.

Lanius excubitor leucopterus  Severtzon, 1875 / synonyms: Lanius excubitor Przewalskii Bogdanov, 1881

Northern Grey Shrikes:

Lanius borealis borealis synonyms: Lanius excubitor borealis Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius excubitor Forster, 1771 / Lanius borealis Vieillot, 1807-1808 / Lanius septentrionalis Shaw, 1809 / Collyrio borealis Baird, 1858 / Collurio borealis Baird, 1866 / Collyrio chemugensis Gregg, 1870 / Lanius borealis americanus Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius excubitor forma borealis Collet, 1886 / Lanius borealis invictus Grinnell, 1900

English name: American Northern Shrike

Lanius borealis mollis  synonyms: Lanius excubitor mollis Eversmann, 1853  / Lanius major Pallas, 1811 / Lanius mollis Eversmann, 1853

Lanius borealis sibiricus  synonyms: Lanius excubitor sibiricus Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius major Pallas, 1811 / Lanius excubitor var. major Radde, 1863 /  Lanius borealis asiaticus Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius seebohmi Gadow, 1883

English name: Siberian Northern Shrike

Lanius borealis funereus  synonyms: Lanius excubitor funereus Menzbier, 1894 / Lanius funereus Menzbier, 1894

Lanius borealis bianchii  synonyms: Lanius excubitor bianchii Hartert, 1901

Desert Grey Shrikes:

Lanius elegans elegans  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis elegans Swaison, 1831 / Lanius elegans Swainson, 1831 / Lanius hemileucurus Fich et Hartlaub, 1870 / Lanius lahtora Shelley, 1872 / Lanius leuconotus Butler, 1909 / Lanius meridionalis elegans Schiebel, 1906 / Lanius excubitor batesi Grant et Mackworth-Praed, 1951 / Lanius elegans Grant et Mackworth-Praed, 1960

English name: Desert Grey Shrike (DB) / Saharan Grey Shrike (OSME)

Lanius elegans leucopygos  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis leucopygos Hemprich et Ehrenberg, 1828 / Lanius leucopygos Hemprich et Ehrenberg, 1828 / Lanius pullens Cassin, 1852 / Lanius dealbatus De Fillipi, 1853 / Lanius orbitalis Lichtenstein, 1854 / Lanius leuconotus Brehm, 1854 / Lanius excubitor jebelmarrae Lynes, 1923 / Lanius meridionalis jebelmarrae Lefranc, 1997

Lanius elegans koenigi  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis koenigi Hartert, 1901

English name: Canary Island Desert Grey Shrike (DB)

Lanius elegans algeriensis  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis algeriensis Lesson, 1839 / Lanius algeriensis Lesson, 1839 / Collurio ludovicianus var. robustus Baird, 1873 /  Lanius robustus Gadov, 1897 / Lanius algeriensis dodsoni Whitaker, 1898 / Lanius meridionalis dodsoni Schiebel, 1906 / Lanius excubitor dodsoni Hartert, 1907)

English name: Dark Desert Grey Shrike (DB)

Iberian Grey Shrike:

Lanius meridionalis meridionalis  Temminck, 1820 / synonyms: Lanius meridionalis Temminck, 1820 / Lanius excubitor meridionalis Temminck, 1820

English name: Iberian Grey Shrike

Asian / Indian Grey Shrikes:

Lanius lahtora lahtora  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis lahtora Sykes, 1832 / Collurio lahtora Sykes,1832 / Lanius lahtora Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius lahtora Blanford et Gates, 1883 / Lanius elegans lahtora Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960

English name: Asian Grey Shrike (DB) / Mauryan Grey Shrike (OSME) / possible alternatives ‘Mughal’ or ‘Timur’ Grey Shrike

Lanius lahtora pallidirostris  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis pallidirostis Cassin, 1852 / Lanius pallidirostis Cassin, 1852 / Lanius assimilis Brehm, 1854 / Lanius pallidus Antinori, 1964 / Lanius grimmi Bogdanov, 1881 / Lanius elegans pallidirostris Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960)

English name: Steppe Grey Shrike (DB) / Mauryan Grey Shrike (OSME) / Saxual Grey Shrike (inadequate)

Lanius lahtora aucheri  synonyms: synonyms: Lanius meridionalis aucheri Bonaparte, 1853 / Lanius aucheri Bonaparte, 1853 / Lanius fallax Heuglin, 1869 / Lanius excubitor dubarensis Grant et Mackworth-Praed, 1951 / Lanius excubitor theresae Meinertzhagen, 1953 / Lanius meridionalis theresae Del Hoyo, 1995 / Lanius elegans aucheri Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960 / Lanius elegans dubarensis Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960

English name: Levant Grey Shrike (DB) / Arabian Grey Shrike (OSME)

Lanius lahtora buryi  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis buryi Lorentz et Hellmayer, 1901 / Lanius buryi Lorentz et Hellmayer, 1901 / Lanius arabicus Grant, 1905 / Lanius meridionalis algeriensis Schiebel, 1906 / Lanius elegans buryi Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960

English name: Yemen Grey Shrike

Socotra Grey Shrike:

Lanius uncinatus uncinatus  synonyms: Lanius meridionalis uncinatus Sclater et Hartlaub, 1881 / Lanius uncinatus Sclater et Hartlaub, 1881 / Lanius meridionalis uncinatus Schiebel, 1906 / Lanius elegans uncinatus Mackworth-Praed et Grant, 1960

English name: Socotra Grey Shrike


OSME = Ornithological Society of the Middle East

DB = Dutch Birding


Position of Lanius excubitor jebelmarrae (unsampled by Olsson et al 2010) uncertain; perhaps in elegans, perhaps aucheri ?

Position of Lanius excubitor theresea (unsampled by Olsson et al 2010) uncertain; perhaps in elegans, perhaps aucheri ?

map.olsson et al

Fig. 2. Breeding distribution of the taxa in the Lanius excubitor complex. The sites of the DNA samples used in the present study are marked by filled circles.

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution concludes that the southern grey shrike is a genetic fallacy. Indeed Svensson’s Birds of Britain and Europe follows its lead from this DNA work. In this largest selling guide, Southern Grey Shrike is divided into Iberian Grey Shrike (clade D2), Desert grey shrike (clade B) while aucheri and buryi are back into the Great Grey Shrike (clade A) camp.

Furthrmore Steppe Grey Shrike pallidirostris is in clade A too. They say they don’t know yet where clades A1, A2 and A3 should be split but there isn’t enough data to do this yet. So taking this to its logical conclusion pallidirostrisis a Great Grey Shrike too.

Group of Clade 1:

Clade A1/A2: Asian Grey Shrike (India and Pakistan) Lanius lahtora with taxa: lahtorapallidirostris, buryi and aucheri

Clade A3: Great Grey Shrike (Europe and Siberia) Lanius excubitor with taxa: excubitor, homeyeri and leucopteros

Clade B: Desert Grey Shrike (parts of northern Africa) Lanius elegans with taxa: elegans, leucopygos, koenigi and algeriensis

Group of Clade 2:

Clade D1: Northern Grey Shrike (North America) Lanius borealis with taxa: borealis, mollissibiricus, funereus and bianchii

Clade D2: Iberian Grey Shrike  (Europe and North Africa) Lanius meridionalis with taxa: meridionalis

Clade C: Socotra Grey Shrikes (SocotraLanius uncinatus with taxa: uncinatus

Also in this group: Lanius spenocercus, Lanius somalicus and Lanius ludovicianus

I think the DNA evidence is unquestionable. What seems to have perpetuated the idea of Southern Grey Shrike in our part of the world is its inclusion in the 2011 edition of Birds of the Middle East (OSME) which didn’t follow Olsson’s (and Svensson’s) lead.  I don’t know whether this is because they are waiting for the “official word”.

Texts on the OSME Region list:

Relationships between large grey shrike taxa are complex; some taxa may be undefinable in terms of species or subspecies, yet include diagnosable populations: a broader view is inevitable. The arrangements as published up to 2009 place many taxa as subspecies of meridionalis across North Africa, Arabia and Central Asia. Although Panov 2011 (and Bannikova 2010 in Panov 2011) agree that fundamental changes in our understanding of taxa relationships are needed, they think it premature to suggest any new taxonmy until a suite of DNA techniques allows formal publication of a revised taxonomy for all taxa in this complex. This traditional approach is the norm, but it is clear that revisions from Bannikova and of Olsson et al will be radical. Accordingly, we have opted to present the most likely changes for the taxa in the OSME Region, while recognising that several taxa outside the Region have not yet been sampled, and that some taxa within the Region need sampling across their breeding rangs, which may be imperfectly known. The groupings (clades) suggested in Olsson et al 2010 as a likely interpretation of their research go beyond those acceptable at this stage by Bannikova 2010& Panov 2011, although both praise that work highly. The ‘radical’ view of Olsson et al 2010 is that meridionalis is an isolate of Iberia & southern France and not closely related to African or Central Asian taxa, a position actually also derivable from Vaurie 1959!
The Olsson et al 2010 clades largely descend from the original ancestral excubitor expansions out of Africa. Panov wants formal refutation of the meridionalis-based lineage; we suggest the scale of likely change is best kept in view here. The Olsson et al & the Panov 2011 taxonomies, as presented, are incompatible, yet relate logically to Vaurie 1959 which we use as the basic Parent Taxon of the changes. We also recognise that some may prefer to retain ‘traditional’ nomenclature, which probably will align closely with our view (as given here) as the formal taxonomy develops. We note support of our approach in the analysis of Poelstra 2010. Note also that Panov 2011 and Olsson et al 2010 do not cover exactly the same taxa. Lastly, this kind of complexity is far from uncommon; eg the flava/citreola wagtails, the large white-headed gulls, Pacific island hawk owls & Paradise Kingfishers, all meriting a broader view.

OSME list_v3.4_Passerines-2

(Vaurie 1959 & Rand 1960 treated as single Holarctic species covering all large Grey Shrike taxa. Later taxonomic conclusions, up to 2009 developed from this standpoint, concluding that many Palearctic taxa derived from the ancestral meridionalis. The molecular results of Olsson et al 2010 & Bannikova 2010 in Panov 2011, relate to Vaurie 1959, but not to the meridionalis – based taxonomy. Lanius excubitor NB original identity of some specimens used in previous & current studies suspect: their original ID from inconsistent/insufficient criteria; these need revalidation via agreed standard morphological criteria for provenance and ID conclusions. Any remaining areas of uncertainty then more clearly evident.

Previous morphological comparisons of the large Grey Shrikes anomalous to some degree (unquantified) with DNA studies of small groups. Olsson et al 2010 relate molecular data to non-molecular studies; anomalies between concepts apparent. Bannikova 2010 in Panov 2011 takes similar line. Many distributions poorly known or sampled, so Olsson et al 2010 avoid formally revising overall classification; Panov 2011 applauds insights in Olsson et al 2010, but adopts the traditionalist view that any amendment of taxonomy should await formal publication. Because this almost certainly will take many years, we prefer ‘temporary’ clarity; doubtless other changes will follow, especially from Panov’s work, but unpublished data are congruent with our provisional revision (Urban Olsson in litt May 2012). Molecular evidence indicates that several taxa grade into each other, as in eg Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava (sensu lato ) complex, & that recent gene flow often evident (Bannikova 2010). Olsson et al 2010 also suggest as potential spp Somali Fiscal L. somalicus, (Hartlaub 1859), Loggerhead Shrike L. ludovicianus (Linnaeus 1766 [8 sspp]) (extralimital), Chinese Grey Shrike L. sphenocercus (Cabanis 1873) & ‘Giant Grey Shrike’ L. giganteus (Przevalski 1887) (qv Hypothetical List); relationships of these taxa to those below are not yet known. Here we use round brackets (indicating uncertainty) to enclose completely some taxa names. NB1 Ayé et al 2012 & Rasmussen & Anderton 2012 support. NB2 Collar 2013 counsels caution on conflicting morphological/reproductive isolation and molecular data as to assgining rank. NB3 Populations bear divergent cytochrome c oxidase 1 (CO1) lineages, potentially including cryptic taxa Kerr et al 2009.

Great Grey Shrike . Lanius (excubitor) excubitor

Taxa in OSME Region are excubitorhomeyeri (Cabanis 1873, leucopterus (Severtzov 1873) & eastern Siberian sibiricus (Bogdanov 1881) Vaurie’s extramital taxa were L.e. bianchii, L.e. mollisL.e. funereus (Asia) L.e. borealisL.e. invictus (N. America) plus all taxa by 2009 included in L. meridionalis (except L. meridionalis itself), eg koenigialgeriensiselegansleucopygosaucheri, buryilahtora, pallidirostris, uncinatus. Clade A3 in Olsson et al 2010; comprises excubitorhomeyeri & leucopterus (Severtzov 1873) only: leucopterus not recognised in Dickinson 2003. (SW France to N & E continental Europe between c 45°N & subarctic as far E asc 90°E). Migrant Turkey Kirwan et al 2008; Status: Ayé et al 2012, R&A 2012 (homeyeri vagrant Indian subcontinent) support ORL approach; taxon excubitor scarce winter northernmost Kazakhstan (A Wassink pers comm, W&O 2007); homeyeri winter visitor & occasional breeder in N Kazakhstan, Qostanay Province (W&O 2007), contra L&W 1997; Ayé et al 2012 largely agree, mapping taxa as wintering extensively Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan & parts of Turkmenistan. CA (K-M&K 2005), mostly migration, winter occurrence? NB1 Johnsen et al 2010 independently confirm Scandinavian excubitor more distant from Nearctic borealis than borealis is from Loggerhead Shrike L. ludovicianus. NB2 validity of name leucopterus debated; przwalskii (Bogdanov 1881) has proponents, but possibly synonymous with homeyeri .

From the sensu lato ‘southern group’ of Vaurie’s 1955 correspondence & of Rand 1960, our arrangement below is most probably the likeliest outcome of post-2008 findings, but is by no means final. Vaurie had written about the idea of a meridionalis-based ‘southern group’ in 1955, but did not mention it in his World Checklist of 1959. NB1 Clade D2 in Olsson et al 2010 comprises only extralimital Southern Grey Shrike L.[excubitor] meridionalis sensu novo, Iberia & S France), hence the presentation & map in Svensson et al 2009 (as ‘Iberian Shrike’); some evidence of close ancestral relationship of meridionalis to Nearctic taxon borealis ( qv above) in Olsson et al 2010. NB2 two taxa, theresae Meinertzhagen 1953; N Israel, S Lebanon) & jebelmarrae (Lynes 1923; W Sudan), both in Dickinson 2003, unsampled by Olsson et al 2010. NB3 many geographical populations, particularly if remote, remain poorly known or unsampled, eg in Iran (Panov & Bannikova 2010 map) & many areas of intergradation also poorly known. Their resolution may require amalgamation or adjustment (surmised from Panov & Bannikva 2010 map) of the very provisional arrangements below. NB4 useful but limited overall conclusions of Klassert et al 2008 overtaken by Olsson et al 2010 & by Bannikova 2010 in Panov 2010. Below, we reluctantly find some long-established English names unsupportable.

Saharan Grey Shrike . Lanius (excubitor) elegans 

(NB This name previously used with combinations of taxa listed in Notes column.

Taxon elegans formerly treated as ssp of Southern Grey Shrike L. meridionalis. Clade B in Olsson et al 2010; comprises elegans (Swainson 1832), leucopygos (Hemprich & Ehrenberg 1833) (former reaches OSME Region in SE Egypt, latter possibly vagrant NE Egypt); algeriensis (Lesson 1839) & koenigi (Hartert 1901) (both extralimital. Position of jebelmarrae (unsampled by Olsson et al 2010) uncertain; perhaps in elegans group, perhaps aucheri. Claim of Egypt-S Lebanon as elegans L&W 1997 now needs re- evaluation. NB DB 2011 call this taxon ‘Desert Grey Shrike’, but see reservations in next row.

Mauryan Grey Shrike . Lanius (lahtora) pallidirostris 

(Extent of Mahajanapada federation ≡ lahtora & pallidirostris distribution). {Steppe Grey Shrike} (Asian Grey Shrike). NB1 name ‘Desert Grey Shrike’ has been applied to another taxon; ‘Saxaul Grey Shrike’ inadequate. NB2 ‘Steppe Grey Shrike’ for ssp pallidirostris is usage customary to UK birders, who may remain unpersuaded of change.

(Lanius [excubitor] lahtora) NB name lahtora has priority. Taxon pallidirostris formerly treated as ssp of Southern Grey Shrike L. meridionalis or as monotypic sp ‘Steppe Grey Shrike’ L. pallidirostris. Clade A1 in Olsson et al 2010 comprises lahtora (Sykes 1832), mostly sedentary + junior ssp migrant pallidirostris (Cassin 1852) Panov & Bannikova 2010; Ayé et al 2012, R&A 2012 support; pallidirostris breeds Iran, CA, L&W 1997, (rare across mid- & S Kazakhstan W&O 2007, breeds SE Afghanistan, R&A 2005), resident W Uzbekistan, W Turkmenistan Ayé et al 2012. Winters Egypt; Arabia Jennings 2010, Ethiopia Ash & Atkins 2009, fairly common PM & WV Oman OBL7, may wander to Turkey Kirwan et al 2008, rare PM & WV Cyprus CBR11. 1st record Egypt Dec 2010 EORC accepted. English name informal@OSME; possible alternatives ‘Mughal’ or ‘Timur’ Grey Shrike. Taxon lahtora resident largely Indian subcontinent, but W as far as SE Iran Evgeniy Panov in litt ; pallidirostris characteristically occupies desert (Panov & Bannikova 2010), saxaul desert or dry rough ground, & not steppe-like grassland; moreover, name ‘Steppe Grey Shrike’ earlier applied to L.(e.) homeyeri Dement’ev & Gladkov 1968. Dutch Birding apply ‘Desert Grey Shrike’ to African elegans. NB1 Russian molecular data suggest our view of this group is valid Evgeniy Panov in litt. NB2 Olsson et al 2010 note Clades A1 & A2 may be sisters but ‘with poor support’: others suggest links are close enough for amalgamation. NB3 DB 2014 pallidirostris + aucheri + lahtora ‘Asian Grey Shrike’. NB4 Vaurie had considered lahtora for ‘southern group’ name.

Arabian Grey Shrike . Lanius (excubitor) aucheri 

{Southern Grey Shrike (part)} (Name ‘Levant Grey Shrike’ [DB 2011] poorly descriptive of taxon’s distribution) (Lanius [excubitor] aucheri).

Taxon aucheri previously treated as ssp of Southern Grey Shrike. Clade A2 in Olsson et al 2010; comprises aucheri (Bonaparte 1853) & buryi (Lorenz & Hellmayr 1901). Breeding distributions (Evegeniy Panov unpub map): buryi Yemen (S Arabia); aucheri SW Iran, C Iraq Salim et al 2012 (as L. meridionalis) , SE Syria, E&W Arabia; abundant resident breeder Oman OBL7. Jennings 2010 from surveys (as Southern Grey Shrike) agrees with Panov, but has mapped aucheri into C Arabia, an extension into recently irrigated areas: perhaps (splitting Jennings 2010 total) 75 000bp buryi 175 000bp aucheri (also a passage migrant), but Olsson et al 2010 map also W of Red Sea supplanting previous mapping as elegans; probably aucheri UAE Aspinall 1996, resident Israel Perlman & Meyrav 2009: 2nd record Cyprus Apr 2013 CRC, 3rd record Kuwait Jun 2013 KORC. Earlier idea of aucheri as NW Afghanistan resident R&A 2005 (also Kyrgyzstan Ven 2002) thought unlikely, but vagrancy possible; accuracy of specimen reference descriptions suspect until revalidation; see Olsson et al 2010 for exemplary doubts re specimens & descriptions. NB1 unsampled theresae may belong to this clade. NB2 Olsson et al 2010 note Clades A1 & A2 may be sisters but ‘with poor support’: others suggest links are close enough for amalgamation.

Socotra Grey Shrike . Lanius (excubitor) uncinatus 

{Southern Grey Shrike (part)}.

(Lanius [excubitor] uncinatus). Taxon uncinatus previously treated as ssp of Southern Grey Shrike. Clade C in Olsson et al 2010; comprises uncinatus (Sclater & Hartlaub 1881) only; Olsson et al 2010 support treatment as species. Note that interpretation of molecular data strongly counters meticulous morphological conclusions of Kirwan 2007 (who suggested synonymy with aucheri on morphology). Olsson et al 2010 treatment makes uncinatus essentially a cryptic species. Breeding population from surveys c 8000bp Jennings 2010.

From the sensu lato ‘northern group’ of Vaurie’s 1955 correspondence & of Rand 1960, sibiricus and other Eastern Palearctic Grey Shrike taxa were aligned with W Palearctic taxa, but through the assumption that they had originated from ancestral populations expanding northeastward from Africa. Interpretation of molecular results suggests that the East Palearcic taxa derive from a much earlier radiation of ancestral excubitor/borealis northwestward from Africa.

Northern Grey Shrike . Lanius (excubitor) borealis 

(cv earlier use of ‘Northern Shrike’ for solely Nearctic taxa). Vaurie 1959 had considered borealis group as solely Nearctic taxon.

NB The ‘unexpected presence’ of taxa east of
c 120°E sharing common ancestry with Nearctic taxa is far from unique (qv eg Mongolian Gull in Non- passerines and Barn Swallow in Passerines).

Vaurie 1959 had taxon sibiricus as ssp of L. excubitor but Olsson et al 2010 place this East Palearctic taxon as ssp of the formerly Nearctic L. borealis (including ssp invictus ). Clade D1 in Olsson et al 2010 therefore comprises borealis (Viellot 1808), Sakhalin & Kurile Islands bianchii (Hartert 1907), Mongolian mollis (Eversmann 1853), E Siberian sibiricus (Bogdanov 1881), & N China funereus (Menzbier 1894). Ayé et al 2012 support; mollis & sibiricus likely vagrants to Indian subcontinent, but R&A 2012 omit mention; taxon mollis likely breeder high altitude forest edges from easternmost Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan along Chinese border Ayé et al 2012. (Mostly extralimital breeders but sibiricus & funereus migrants in OSME Region); funereus formerly bred southeasternmost Kazakhstan (Dzhungarian Mountains, A Wassink pers comm) possibly still winter visitor easternmost Kyrgyzstan, but no recent records Arend Wassink in litt 2009; sibiricus vagrant; funereus may be taxon breeding in W&N Kyrgyzstan, Ven 2002. NB1 close relationship of borealis & extralimital L. meridionalis (Clade D2 in Olsson et al 2010). NB2 N-S breeding distribution of funereus & mollis athwart that (W-E) of eastern pallidirostris. NB3 Johnsen et al 2010 independently confirm Nearctic borealis closer to Loggerhead Shrike L. ludovicianus than to Scandinavian excubitor. NB4 DB 33(1) name L.b. sibiricus (only) Northern Shrike.

Related messages:

Lanius lahtora pallidirostris:

Bird alert!



uk rare bird alert

Lanius borealis borealis:

First record of ssp Lanius borealis borealis in WP

Lanius borealis sibiricus:

ssp. sibiricus for the netherlands?

a taxonomic assessment


The Lanius excubitor (Aves, Passeriformes) conundrum . taxonomic dilemma when molecular and non- molecular data tell different stories . Olssen, U.; Alström, P.; Svensson, L.; Aliabadian, M.; Sundberg, P., Elsevier, Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 55:2: 347-357, 2010

Speciation in shades of grey: the great grey shrike complex (Trends in systematics) . Poelstra, J., Dutch Birding Volume 32:4: 258-264, 2010; see: Grey Shrikes

The OSME Region List of Bird Taxa – Version 2.4