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Conservation status: Red

Red-backed shrikes are slightly larger, but slimmer, than house sparrows. The male is unmistakable with a bluish-grey head, black mask, bright chestnut back and thick hooked black bill. Shrikes like to perch prominently on the tops of bushes, fence posts and telephone wires, where they have a good view of potential prey. Items caught are then taken to a larder where they are impaled on a thorn or wedged in a fork. Its dramatic decline to virtual extinction as a UK breeding species make this a Red List bird.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Lanius collurio

Family

Shrikes (Laniidae)

Where to see them

Now effectively extinct as a breeding bird and best looked for on passage in spring and autumn. Most birds are seen on the south and east coasts of the UK as far north as northern Scotland.

When to see them

May and June, when they migrate north and from August to October when they move south.

What they eat

Insects, and small birds and mammals

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1-3 pairs-250 birds

Distribution

Key

Audio

Volker Arnold, Xeno-canto

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