homeyeri Great Grey Shrike


A Great Grey Shrike (as they typically do) has been  present along the moorland fringe near Sheffield since 28th October. I had the chance to get out and do some birding today. This seemed a  good start. I was interested in the bird also because  local birder Jim Clarke had made a comments on the Sheffield Bird Study Group website about the  amount of white in the wing.

First views, 2 intriguing characters. Extensive white in wing -wow! especially as it dropped to the ground and flew, and pale lores– not black- grey and bit messy. Not black. It was clearly not a Lesser Grey of a Steppe Grey, but still. I wondered about other forms. I was present when a Great Grey Shrike at  Flamborough Head several  years back led us to explore homeyeri– but it wasn’t. What about this one in front of me? I noted what I could, took a few photos and returned home to look the subject up.

Wow again! Decided I needed to take another look. I don’t know for sure what it is. Seems to show characters of homeyeri. Very little info available on 1st winters of that form. Will try again tomorrow to see it better and find out more!

Here you go. Not great photos but best I could do.

To me it showed:

Big patch of white in secondaries at rest- more obvious in some pics than others certainly striking in the field seemingly exceptional for 1st winter excubitor

White patch at base of primaries seems bit too long for typical excubitor (1st winter)

Big white patch in flight extending well across secondaries

Little white patch above bill base suggesting forthcoming pattern of white here

Tail Pattern closer to homeyeri Great Grey Shrike more  than ssp. excubitor

Somewhat slightly more ‘pallid’ tone to grey in field than excubitor – but admittedly subjective

Lores grey- black just reaches in front of eye then stops abruptly – not well shown in pics

It suggest a bird ‘showing characteristics  of homeyeri‘. Is it one? I really don’t know. getting info /photos on first winter homeyeri is not easy. Is it just a 1st winter excubitor?– characters seem to suggest not. What about an intergrade? Maybe. More views and photos required. Some questions and learning. Interesting bird nevertheless!

All photos. Black Hill, nr Sheffield. 5th November 2010

5 thoughts on “homeyeri Great Grey Shrike

  1. Kent Olsen

    Another grey shrike variant from this autumn is here and here.

    Additionally there is this apparent homeyeri left of an excubitor which was seen in Sweden

    On Tarsiger there are photos of two possible sibiricus candidates seen in Finland with the first bird here, here, here and the other bird here and here. Few comments on the Finnish birds are here. Photos of another possible sibiricus candidate seen in Sweden are here


    1. Martin Garner

      hi Kent

      thanks very much for this – to me the bird still looks very promising for homeyeri- and the hope its that it stays and winters as GG Shrikes often do in our area- along the moorland fringe

      Those sibiricus type look amazing!


  2. Grzegorz Neubauer

    Hi All,
    I put the photo of a GGS looking as an intermediate between nominate and homeyeri from Nov 2009, Krakow, S Poland – quite similar to Sheffield bird. Wholly white T6 and T5 with faint, isolated black spot. White on secondaries extensive, but a bit less than on prims, with a slight ‘step’ (note however how variably it does look on the same bird).

    Grzegorz Neubauer

    1. Martin Garner


      Thanks very much for this. Reporting from Poland you must have a much greater opportunity to get intergrades and perhaps more frequent genuine homeyeri. Very instructive

      Cheers Martin

  3. Pingback: homeyeri Great Grey Shrike | Birding Frontiers

Leave a Reply