When hunting, shrikes sit in prominent positions such as on fence posts in order to spot potential prey. They take a range of prey and use a variety of hunting methods. They swiftly drop onto beetles and other invertebrates dwelling on the ground, but can also chase after flying insects and catch them on the wing. Small birds, mammals, lizards and frogs are also taken, and are killed with a sharp peck to the back of the head. Prey items are often impaled on thorns in order to build up a food supply for periods of bad weather. These 'larders' have earned the species the name 'butcher bird', and according to superstition the red-backed shrike only feeds when it has killed nine creatures. The name 'nine killer' comes from the German 'neunmoder' (5). The cup-like nest is built from plant stems, roots and grass, is lined with moss and hair and is located low down in dense thorny bushes. Eggs are laid between the end of May and late July; only one clutch consisting of 3-6 eggs is produced each year (2).
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