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.

References and further reading

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

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

Shrikes of Southern Africa - Author: Tony Harris and Graeme Arnott - Published: 0 - Page: 48

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

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 189

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

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 299

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 61

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 380

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

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

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

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

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

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 107

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

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

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 68

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 247

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

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

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

BirdLife South Africa


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List of South African Birds

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