Birds of Switzerland
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    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