Thursday, August 07, 2008

Breeding Shrikes of Greece

Greece offers the opportunity of watching four different nesting Shrike species. There are several areas in Northern Greece where one can see all of them nesting in the same area.

The Woodchat Shrike is the commonest of all. It's the most abundant species, found in the mainland and most of the islands. In southern Greece it's usually the only nesting species in the lowlands.

The Red-backed Shrike is the second most common breeder. Found in higher elevations in the south, in the north it can be also seen in sea level habitats. In autumn migration huge numbers cross the country.

The Lesser Grey Shrike is an uncommon breeder in north and central Greece, with few possible pairs nesting as south as Mt Parnitha in Attica, perhaps even in the Peloponnese. During autumn migration and especially during in August is a quite common migrant in coastal flat areas, usually perching in wires.

The Masked Shrike is the most localized of all. Its main distribution range includes most of Northern Greece, reaching south to Thessaly. It also breeds in a few islands of the Aegean, like Lesvos. Unlike the other Shrikes it can be found in quite dense woodland, but it also occurs in open habitats.
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