Temporal changes and sexual differences of impaling behavior in Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)

Oded Keynan, Reuven Yosef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis) is a common resident along the rift valley. During 2007-2008 we studied the impaling behavior of Southern Grey Shrikes at the Shezaf nature reserve by food supplementation. Our findings indicate seasonal shifts in impaling behavior. During the winter, there was no difference between the sexes and shrikes impaled house mice (Mus musculus) close to their territorial boundaries with neighboring conspecifics. All impaled mice disappeared from the tree within a few hours of impalement. During the mating season, males impaled the whole prey and let females eat it, and prey was impaled by both sexes only in order to dismember and feed the nestlings. Shrikes impaled and cached meal worms only after they were satiated. The number of meal worms taken to be hoarded increased during the non-breeding season, but during the breeding season male shrikes preferred to feed the females. During the entire research period we did not find any specific cache sites or trees and no prey remained impaled for extended periods of time. In conclusion, impaling prey changed temporally and between sexes: from being a signal for conspecifics to pair bonding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavior
  • Desert
  • Impaling
  • Southern Grey Shrike

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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