Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Red-Backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)


At around 17 cm long, 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 species has only been found on lowland heaths.


It feeds on large invertebrates, mice, fledglings. It impales surplus food on thorns of plants such as roses or Whitethorn, for storage until rainy periods.

Protection Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Interesting Facts

Like other shrikes, the Red-backed Shrike hunts form prominent perches, and impales corpses on thorns/barbed wire to store food, being nicknamed as ‘butcher bird’.

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