Red-backed Shrike

      Lanius collurio

      Information

      The Red-backed Shrike is the only shrike species that was to some extent able to maintain its population in our country. However, this inhabitant of low thorny scrub and traditional farmland has now become much rarer in the Swiss lowlands. It often spears its prey on thorns or pointed side branches to handle them and dissect them or to store them in its “larder”. Hence its old, country name “Nine Killer” or “Butcher Bird”. People used to mistakenly believe that it always spikes nine insects before eating one.

      Voice

      Status (in CH)
      regular, common breeder and migrant
      Annual cycle
      The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young.
      Annual cycle
      Annual cycle

      Facts

      Population size in Switzerland (Pairs)
      10'000 - 15'000 (2013-2016)
      Migration behaviour
      long-distance migrant
      Diurnal/nocturnal migrant
      Nocturnal migrant
      Length (cm)
      16-18
      wing span (cm)
      24-27
      Weight (g)
      21-40
      Nest site
      bushes
      Food
      insects, small mammals, reptiles
      Group
      Shrikes
      Habitat
      hedges, forestrand
      Distribution
      Distribution
      Distribution