The Great Grey Shrike, Northern Grey Shrike, or Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) is a large songbird species in the shrike family (Laniidae). It forms a superspecies with its parapatric southern relatives, the Southern Grey Shrike (L. meridionalis), the Chinese Grey Shrike (L. sphenocerus) and the Loggerhead Shrike (L. ludovicianus). Within the Great Grey Shrike species itself, there are nine subspecies. Males and females are similar in plumage, pearly grey above with a black eye-mask and white underparts.
Breeding takes place generally north of 50° northern latitude in northern Europe and Asia (where it is known as the Great Grey Shrike), and in North America (where it is known as the Northern Shrike) north of 55° northern latitude in Canada and Alaska. Most populations migrate south in winter to temperate regions. The Great Grey Shrike is carnivorous, with rodents making up over half its diet.
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