How to identify

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 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.


Red-backed Shrike

Volker Arnold / xeno-canto


  1. Resident
  2. Passage
  3. Summer
  4. Winter
* This map is intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

Key facts

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