Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Birds

Red-Backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)

Description

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.

Habitat

The species has only been found on lowland heaths.

Diet

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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