Steppe Grey Shrike

First winter Steppe Grey Shrike © Glyn Sellors, Sept 08

This shrike was photographed near Vatera between 17-24 Sept. The 'Great' Grey Shrikes are many and some have been split, including Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridonalis which those who visit Iberia and southern France will be familiar with, and some have also split Steppe Grey Shrike L. pallidirostris which occurs throughout the Middle East and eastern Asia.

In correspondence with Glynn Sellors (the photographer) and Killian Mullarney, KM commented 'I think your bird looks an excellent candidate for pallidirostris and its appearance certainly corresponds very closely with that of many individuals recorded in western Europe that have been identified as pallidirostris.'

Birds of Greece (1997) states that only two subspecies have been confirmed from Greece - excubitor (inc. one ringing recovery of a Finnish ringed bird) and homeyeri. So if this record is confirmed as pallidirostris it could be a first for Greece! But how many others have been overlooked? This is the only record of one of the 'great' grey shrikes I have come across from the island since I've been visiting (2000) and there is a dearth of details of any previous records, and assigning previous records to race is probably now very unlikely and all must be treated simply as Great Grey Shrikes.

Greece follow the AERC who treat Steppe Grey Shrike as a subspecies of Southern Grey Shrike L. meridionalis - Steppe Grey Shrike L. m. pallidirostris.