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Red-backed Shrike | Lanius collurio

The Red-backed Shrike is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Laniidae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Shrikes.

The description for the Red-backed Shrike (Latin name Lanius collurio) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Lanius collurio can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 733 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 725. You will find a picture of the Red-backed Shrike on page 752.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Red-backed Shrike between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Red-backed Shrike is known in Afrikaans as Rooiruglaksman.

The Red-backed Shrike has a height of 18 cms and weighs around 29 gms. The head is coloured blue, grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Lanius collurio has a white, grey coloured throat, grey legs and a blue, grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is blue, grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is grey

Legs are grey

Throat is white, grey

Back is blue, grey

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Lanius collurio attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Red-backed Shrike eats the eggs of its victim.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Red-backed Shrike is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Red-backed Shrike is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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