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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

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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Source: ARKive

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Description

Measuring 17 cm in length, the red-backed shrike is slightly larger than a house sparrow. Males are easily recognisable by their striking appearance. They have a bluish-grey head, black eye mask, chestnut coloured back, black tail framed with white, salmon pink underparts and a hooked black bill. Females and juveniles do not have the black eye mask of the male and are dull brown; juveniles also have bars on their back. The voice includes a harsh 'chack chack' alarm call, and males produce a sustained warble in which the songs of other bird species are copied (2).
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Distribution

Range

Widespread Palearctic region; > to South Africa.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

The red-backed shrike breeds throughout most of Europe except for most of the northern areas, central and southern Iberia and many Mediterranean islands (3). It migrates via south-east Europe to tropical and southern Africa and north-west India for the winter (2). Formerly widespread throughout much of England and Wales, the species has undergone a drastic decline since the mid 19th century. By 1980 the species was found only in heathland in East Anglia, and in 1989 there were no confirmed records of breeding (4). Nesting in the UK has since been sporadic, with hopes of a natural recolonisation from Scandinavia after a number of pairs bred in Scotland between 1977-79 (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Source: IUCN

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In the UK, red-backed shrikes once bred in a wide range of habitats, including commons, waste land, scrubby habitat and heathland (4). More recently however, the species has only been found on lowland heaths (4).
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Associations

Animal / predator
Lanius collurio is predator of adult of Bombus
Other: major host/prey

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 7.8 years (wild)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Lanius collurio

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 13 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACCGCCCTA---AGCCTCCTAATTCGAGCAGAACTGGGACAACCCGGTGCTCTTCTAGGGGAC---GACCAAATTTACAACGTAATTGTTACAGCTCATGCCTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTTATGCCTATCATAATCGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGATTAGTCCCACTAATA---ATCGGTGCCCCGGACATAGCATTCCCACGAATGAATAACATGAGTTTCTGACTCCTACCTCCATCATTCCTCCTTCTACTAGCCTCTTCAACAGTAGAAGCAGGAGTAGGAACAGGATGAACTGTATACCCACCACTAGCTGGTAACTTAGCCCACGCTGGAGCTTCAGTCGACCTA---GCCATCTTCTCACTACACCTAGCAGGTATCTCATCAATTCTAGGAGCAATTAATTTTATCACTACAGCAATTAACATAAAACCTCCTGCCCTATCACAATACCAAACCCCACTATTCGTATGATCAGTCCTAATTACCGCAGTGCTACTTCTTCTTTCCCTACCAGTACTCGCTGCT---GGAATCACTATACTCCTAACAGACCGGAACCTCAACACTACATTCTTTGACCCAGCAGGAGGGGGAGACCCAGTGCTATATCAACATCTGTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCATCCAGAAGTATACATCTTAATCCTGCCAGGATTCGGCATTATCTCCCATGTCGTAGCATATTATGCCGGCAAAAAA---GAGCCATTCGGCTATATAGGAATAGTATGAGCAATACTATCAATCGGATTCCTCGGGTTCATCGTCTGAGCTCACCACATGTTTACAGTAGGAATGGACGTTGATACACGAGCCTACTTTACATCCGCTACTATAATTATCGCTATTCCAACTGGAATTAAAGTATTTAGCTGACTA---GCAACACTGCACGGAGGC---ACAATCAAATGAGACCCACCAATACTATGAGCCCTCGGATTTATCTTCCTATTTACTATTGGAGGGCTAACAGGAATTGTCCTAGCTAACTCTTCTTTAGACATCGCCCTACACGACACATATTATGTAGTAGCCCATTTCCACTACGTT---CTATCCATAGGAGCAGTCTTTGCAATCCTAGCAGGATTCACTCACTGATTCCCGCTCTTCACCGGATACACCCTGCACTCTACATGAGCCAAAATTCACTTCGGAGTCATGTTTGTAGGAGTAAAC
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lanius collurio

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 13
Specimens with Barcodes: 18
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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