Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Saturday 18 July 2015

SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE (Lanius meridionalis subspecies L. m. koenigi) La Oliva, Fuerteventura, The Canary Islands, Spain

See below for detailed species information

Great Grey Shrike comprises nine subspecies. Nominate excubitor occurs in northern and central Europe whilst homeyeri (sometimes known as ‘Steppe Shrike’) breeds from south-east Europe through the Ural mountains into western Siberia. Further east, sibiricus (‘North Siberian Shrike’) breeds in central and eastern Siberia, with leucopterus, mollis, bianchii and funereus occupying restricted areas in Central and East Asia. Two subspecies – borealis and invictus (known collectively as ‘Northern Shrike’) – occur in North America. A further eleven grey shrike forms are currently treated as ‘Southern Grey Shrike’ Lanius meridionalis (Cramp et al. 1993).The taxonomy of the ‘Great Grey Shrikes’ is in a state of considerable flux. DNA evidence fails to support the current two species split, and at least six potential species have been identified though not formally proposed (Olsson 2010). In particular, a deep genetic divide is identified between a clade containing (amongst others) excubitor, homeyeri and leucopterus and one containing (amongst others) sibiricus, mollis, bianchii, funereus,borealis and invictus. This suggests a split between a new more tightly-defined ‘Great Grey Shrike’ encompassing the former three subspecies and ‘Northern Grey Shrike’ Lanius borealis encompassing the latter five. See full text reference at