The Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio is a member of the shrike family Laniidae.
The Red-backed Shrike breeds in most of Europe and western Asia and winters in tropical Africa. Its range is contracting, and it no longer breeds in England, although it is frequent on migration. It breeds in open cultivated country with hawthorn and dog rose.
This migratory medium-sized passerine eats large insects, small birds, voles 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 wheatear pattern.
In the female and young birds the upperparts are brown and vermiculated. Underparts are buff and also vermiculated.