Sunday, 22 July 2012

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

OTHER NAMES: Butcher bird
Latin Etymology: Lanius ("butcher") collurio (a bird mentioned by Aristotle)

Adult Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) at Capo Murro di Porco, Sicily, Italy - May 2018

Local Name (Italian): Avèrla Piccola ("little shrike")
Weight: 25-35kg
Length: 16-18cm
Wingspan: 24-27cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Red-backed Shrikes are the smaller of the two shrikes which regularly turn up in the UK - they used to be a breeding species in the UK but became extinct as a breeding bird in 1989.  It is however making a small comeback and breeding pairs have been recorded again in recent years.  My first sighting, like the majority of its species seen in this country, was presumably a passage migrant. A second bird I saw later was in Sicily, which is more within their usual range. Although they are passerines, shrikes are predatory and notable for the way they store their prey in "larders" which consist of thorny bushes on which they impale their small animal food.

Related Species:
Family: Laniidae
Genus: Lanius
Subspecies: None - monotypic

UNITED KINGDOM - A rare passage migrant and occassional breeder
 - A single passage migrant bird at Hayes in July 2012
ITALY - A passage migrant
 - SICILY 2018 TRIP - A single bird at Capo Murro di Porco

Further Notes: ArkiveBirdForum Opus, BirdGuidesIUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-Canto  

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