Male of the species, 2 June 2013. © Jose Guerra / Trenca

On last Sunday 2 June 2013 the first Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) arrived to the Mas de Melons-Alfés SPAB (El Segrià, Lleida). It is a male, born in the wild in 2011 that also returned in 2012.

The Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) is the most threatened vertebrate in the Spanish state. It became extinct as a breeder species in 2001 in he province of Girona and in 2010 in the province of Huesca. The last breeding population in the Iberian peninsula is only located in Lleida, in the Segrià regional district.

Last year four lesser grey shrikes returned to the plain of Lleida, three males and one female. One pair was formed, which started reproduction but no production was obtained. Anyway, 39 chicks born in captivity at the Wildlife Centre of Vallcalent were released.

This year, so far, it is the first individual that has returned to the plain of Lleida. Probably the particularly cool and rainy weather of the last two weeks of May was delaying their arrival date to the plain (usually, between 15 – 29 May).

For further information on the project please check the section Conservation in situ of the Lesser Grey Shrike (Lanius minor) in Spain on this website.

The project for the conservation of the Lesser Grey Shrike is an initiative promoted by the Departament of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and Natural Environment of the Autonomic Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya). Both the Wildlife Centre of Vallcalent (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Zoo of Barcelona carry out the ex situ conservation programme, that is, outside the natural habitat. Trenca Association is responsible for doing habitat improvement, wild population tracking, reintroduction of individuals as well as giving support to captive breeding work. The project is further supported by public and private entities (Departament de Territori i SostenibilitatFundación Bodiversidad y Red Eléctrica de España).