Woodchat shrike

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Woodchat shrike
Lanius senator01 new.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Laniidae
Genus: Lanius
Species: L. senator
Binomial name
Lanius senator
Linnaeus, 1758
Lanius senator distr.png

     Summer      Winter[2]
Lanius senator - MHNT

The woodchat shrike (Lanius senator) is a member of the shrike family Laniidae.

The woodchat breeds in southern Europe, the Middle East and northwest Africa, and winters in tropical Africa. It breeds in open cultivated country, preferably with orchard trees and some bare or sandy ground.


The male is a striking bird with black and white plumage and a chestnut crown. The race L. s. badius of the western Mediterranean lacks the large white wing patches.

In the female and young birds the upperparts are brown and vermiculated. Underparts are buff and also vermiculated.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

This migratory medium-sized passerine eats large insects, small birds and amphibians. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a "larder".

This species often overshoots its breeding range on spring migration, and is a rare, but annual, visitor to Great Britain. The Balearic race badius has occurred in Britain around four times as a vagrant, and has also been recorded once in Ireland.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Lanius senator". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Tony Harris & Kim Franklin (2000). Shrikes and Bush-Shrikes. Helm. ISBN 0-7136-3861-3. 

External links[edit]