Shrike by any other name

DOUBLE-NAME: The grey shrike thrush and the grey thrush are the same bird.

DOUBLE-NAME: The grey shrike thrush and the grey thrush are the same bird.

Is the grey shrike thrush the same bird as the grey thrush? If different, which one would we have here?

D.B., Napoleons.

They are one and the same bird. The official name for this popular and common songbird is grey shrike thrush, but this is sometimes abbreviated to grey thrush.

The grey shrike thrush is not a member of the true thrush family, nor is it a shrike. Because it has the size and features of both these European birds, it was given its clumsy double-name more than 100 years ago.

No popular alternative name has been suggested, although grey thrush is a popular – but strictly incorrect – abbreviation.

Shrikes are predatory Eurasian birds with hooked beaks, and our shrike-thrushes share these features too. 

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au