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. It is also listed as a Schedule 1 species under The Wildlife and Countryside Act.
What they eat:
Insects, and small birds and mammals
- UK breeding:
- 1-3 pairs
- UK passage:
- 250 birds
This bird species has different identifying features depending on sex/age/season.