At the beginning of May, the eighth consecutive season of the Lesser Grey Shrike Conservation Project began in Lleida and five of them have already come!

The Lesser Grey Shrike is a medium-sized migrant passerine that does not migrate to Africa trough the Strait of Gibraltar but crossing the western Medierranean Sea towards its wintering grounds, in Southern Africa. It takes more than 10.000 km to complete a full of threats one-way trip. Eastern Europe holds the main population of this Shrike species (Hugary, Rumania and Bulgaria) while the species disappeared from Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland and most of the French range during the last decades. In Western Europe there are still small, isolated and critically endangered breeding pairs in Southern France, Spain and Italy.

In Spain, the number of breeding pairs went from around 35-40 in the 80s to only one in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and two in 2015, all of them in Lleida (NE Spain). With the aim to prevent the extinction of the LGS, TRENCA NGO has been working during the last years in the recovery of the Catalan LGS breeding population.

A lesser grey shrike feeding on a supplementary feeding tray © Marc Galvez/Trenca

At the beginning of May, the eighth consecutive season of the Lesser Grey Shrike Conservation Project began in Lleida (NE Spain). After one month, the first results are promising: five LGS have arrived in Lleida so far, forming two pairs that are already incubating. All of them, except one, are released birds, born in the Breeding Center. In this Center there are already 70 chicks getting ready to be released at the end of June. This season we hope to produce a similar number of chicks than the last year, when we beat the record with 100 juveniles released and a total of 267 since we began in 2009.

A wild specimen of Lesser Grey Shrike at one of the reintroduction points of the species in Lleida. © M. Gálvez/Trenca

One of the males is again, an old friend, a 5 years old bird, born in the wild in the same place in 2011 and coming back to Lleida for the fifth consecutive year! We hope this to be just the begining of an excellent season!

To learn more about the project, you can visit the section Conservation in situ of reintroduction of the Lesser Gray Shrike (lanius minor) in Spain in this same web page.

TRENCA NGO has been woring for several years in the conservation of this species, through the protection of the last breeding pairs and the conservation of the breeding habitat as well as reinforcing the population thanks to an ambitious captive breeding project. This project is possible thanks to the collaboration of the Captive Breeding Center (Vallcalent), run by the Catalan Government as well as the financial assistance of Fundación Biodiversidad (Spanish Government), the Catalan Government and the Barcelona Zoo. WWF Spain contributes to the project offering technical advice, finding financial assitance and spreading the project’s achievements.