(717) Lanius collurio.
The Bed-backed Shrike.
Lanius collurio Linn., S. N., ed. x, p. 94 (1758) (Europe, Sweden) j Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 466.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, lores and a line through the eye and ear-coverts black; above the back a faint line of white; crown, nape and neck clear grey ; back, scapulars and wing-coverts dull chestnut to dull maroon; rump and upper tail-coverts grey, sometimes slightly tinged with rufous ; central tail-feathers dark reddish brown to black, the lateral feathers white with a large patch of brown near the tip; concealed portions of wing-coverts brown; quills brown, the primaries narrowly, the secondaries broadly edged with rufous ; lower plumage rosy-white, the chin, throat and under tail-coverts white and often without any rosy tint.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill and legs black.
Measurements. Wing 89 to 98 mm.; tail 74 to 80 mm.: tarsus 23 to 25 mm.; culmen 14 to 17 mm.
Nestling. Above grey or rufous-grey barred with black ; below dull fulvous, mottled or squamated with dark brown.
Young bird like the adult but the breast and flanks squamated with narrow black crescentic bars.
Distribution. Practically the whole of Europe and Western Asia to Trans-Caspia and Persia and in Winter South to North Africa, Arabia and North-West India.
Nidification. Breeds during June and the last few days of May, second broods being found in July. The Red-backed Shrike makes a deep compact cup-shaped nest of grass, roots, small twigs etc., which it places in bushes, hedges or thorn-trees at any height from three to twenty feet from the ground. The eggs number four to six or, rarely, eight and vary greatly in colour. The ground, is white, pink, cream or some shade of yellow, buff or green and the markings consist of spots or blotches of various shades of red or brown, the ground-colour dominating their general tint. Three hundred and sixty eggs average 22.1 x 16.4 mm.: maxima 25.0 x 16.0 and 22.6 x 18.3 mm.; minima 18.3 x 15.0 and 22.2 x 14.0 mm. (Hartert).
Habits. This Shrike only wanders into Indian limits as the rarest of stragglers. Col. Butler obtained in at Deesa in Guzerat and Scully recorded it as occurring in Gilgit during migration. Since then Ticehurst has recorded several specimens from Sind, and he seems to think it is a regular visitor on the autumn migrations.