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Female Red-backed Shrike - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gordiesbirdies


The Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) is a carnivorous passerine bird and member of the shrike family Laniidae..

This bird breeds in most of Europe and western Asia and winters in tropical Africa. Its range is contracting, and it is now probably extinct in Great Britain as a breeding bird, although it is frequent on migration. It is named as a protected bird in Britain under a Biodiversity Action Plan. It breeds in open cultivated country with hawthorn and dog rose.

This 16-18 cm (approx. 6.3-7.1 inches) long migratory bird eats large insects, small birds, frogs, rodents and lizards. Like other shrikes it hunts from prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns or barbed wire as a "larder".

The general colour of the male’s upper parts is reddish. It has a grey head and 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 young birds the upperparts are brown and vermiculated. Underparts are buff and also vermiculated.

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