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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 8:51 EDT

Red-backed Shrike

The Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is a member of the shrike family Laniidae. Their breeding habitat includes most of Europe and western Asia. In winter this species migrates into tropical Africa. Its range is shrinking, and it last bred in England in 1988, although it is frequent on migration. It breeds in open cultivated country with hawthorn and dog rose.

This medium-sized shrike feeds on large insects, small birds, voles and lizards, which it hunts from prominent perches, and then impaling its prey on thorns or barbed wire as a “larder”.

The general color of the male’s upper parts is reddish. Its head is gray with a typical shrike black stripe through the eye. Underparts are tinged pink, and the tail has a black and white pattern similar to that of a wheatear.

In the female and juveniles the upperparts are brown and vermiculated. Underparts are buff and also vermiculated.

Red-backed Shrike