The composition of a lowland heath, with the shrike atop its chosen observation post in the watery winter sunset is an experience to savour. A black stripe below the eye produces an inevitably fierce expression, whilst distinctively short, broad wings and fairly lengthy tail are particularly noticeable in flight. Great grey shrike undersides are white, whilst the plumage above is primarily grey, splashed with black on wings and tail. The Great Grey Shrike, a winter visitor, is now perhaps the most likley to be encountered. Furthermore, although both species are declining in range and numbers, the red-backed shrike – which used to breed here and now visits just as the great grey is leaving – is virtually extinct as a UK breeding bird. T he Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, is a bird of prey with some rather nasty habits. In the UK, Isle of Man, and Ireland, the Great Grey Shrike is a rare winter visitor to England and Scotland. Great Grey Shrike. The bright lemon yellows, white and green tones brighten the dullest autumn day. More on the Great Grey Shrike in the UK and its grisly method. Portrait of Great grey shrike perched on a thorny bush in the grasslands of Tal Chhapar, Rajasthan, India. A medium-sized bird, the great grey shrike is black and grey with a white underbelly, a black band across its eyes and a long tail. The conservation status for this species is "not assessed' in the UK because it only occurs as a rare migrant, and is not globally threatened. Photos of Great Grey Shrike (RBA - the UK birders news service) Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northwestern Rajasthan on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert; The Thar. The great grey shrike, nicknamed the 'Butcher Bird', swoops upon his prey and kills them before spiking them on thorns to save for future meals, as seen in … Regularly Occurring Species. The great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor) has been spotted on Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses.They’ll soon be returning to their Scandinavian breeding grounds, after spending the winter hunting over the Mosses. This small grassland habitat is surrounded by sparse scrub and dry dusty plains peppered with salt pans. It is most likely to occur in open fields with scattered trees. It is most likely to occur in open fields with scattered trees. The Red-backed Shrike was once a common bird across southern Britain, but has disappeared with the intensification of agricultural practices, though it is still seen on passage. Always a dramatic sight, a Great Grey Shrike going about its business on a crisp winter's day can always be guaranteed to capture the attention of any birder. The conservation status for this species is "not assessed' in the UK because it only occurs as a rare migrant, and is not globally threatened. 'The Butcher Bird' in Britain. 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