How to identifyRed-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 black bill. Shrikes like to perch on the tops of bushes, fence posts and telephone wires, where they have a good view of potential prey. Their catches are taken to their 'larder' where they are impaled on a thorn or wedged into branches for later. Dramatic declines have seen the Red-backed Shrike become almost extinct as a UK breeding species, and they are now a Red List bird. It's also listed as a Schedule 1 species under The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
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