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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red-backed Shrike

Afrikaans name: Rooiruglaksman

A Red-backed Shrike preening in iMfolozi Game Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Lanius collurio

The Red-backed Shrike is a migrant to South Africa in our summer. It spends our winter in Europe and Asia where it breeds.

The bird is about 17 cm in length and is normally seen perched on a low branch from where it keeps an eye out for insects which form the main part of its diet. It will also take larger prey items such as small birds, frogs and lizards.

An interesting habit of this, and similar, Shrikes is to store food items on thorns. Their plan is come back at a later stage and eat them. This characteristic has earned these birds a nickname of butcher-birds.

Male Red-backed Shrikes are far more colourful than females. The females are plainer and look like they have 'juvenile' colouration.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 265

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 46

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 46

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 192

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 99

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 230

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 73

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 68

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 188

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 278

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 370

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 370

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 299

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 491

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 502

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 642

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 641

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 358

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 390

Shrikes of Southern Africa - Author: Tony Harris and Graeme Arnott - Year Published: - Page: 48

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 78

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Year Published: 1979 - Page: 40

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 168

World Birds - Author: Brian P. Martin - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 54

List of South African Birds

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