352. Red-Backed Shrike.
Lanius collurio, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 136 (1766) ; Naum. ii. p. 30, Taf. 62 ; Hewitson, i. p. 70, pl. xx. figs. 3, 4 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 69 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 15 ; Newton, i. p. 209 ; Dresser, iii. p. 399, pl. 150 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 286 ; Saunders, p. 151 ; Lilford, ii. p. 74, pl. 34.
Pie-grieche ecorcheur, French ; Desollador, Verdugo, Span. ; Averla-piccola, Ital. ; Rothruckiger Wurger, German ; Graauwe Klaauwier, Dutch ; Brunryggad Tornskata, Swed. ; Almindelig Tornskade, Dan. ; Pienempi-Lepinkainen, Finn. ; Sorokoput-julan, Russ.
Male ad. (England). Crown, nape, and upper tail-coverts blue-grey mantle brownish chestnut-red ; wings blackish brown narrowly margined externally with rufous ; wing-coverts black with broad rufous margins ; middle tail-feathers black, the rest white at the base, then black with narrow white tips ; frontal line, lores, and ear-coverts deep black ; chin, lower abdomen, under wing and tail-coverts white : rest of under parts rose-coloured ; bill and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.6, wing 3.7, tail 3.2, tarsus 0.95 inch. The female is brownish grey above, faintly barred, the tail russet-brown tipped with white ; the under parts dull white with spade-shaped brown vermiculations ; old females, however, assume a plumage nearly approaching that of the male. The young bird has the upper parts reddish brown, the under parts pale fulvous, both above and below barred with blackish and brown vermiculations ; bill and legs dull plumbeous ; iris light brown.
Hab. Northern Europe ; in Sweden as far north as Umea ; Central Europe, not common in the south-west ; Asia as far east as the Altai range, Wintering in Africa, not on the west coast, as far south as the Cape Colony.
Inhabits plains, fields, gardens, and hedgerows, and feeds on insects, especially grasshoppers, mice, and even small birds, and impales its prey on thorns like its allies. Its usual note is a harsh shek, shek, and the male utters a sort of song. It breeds in May or June, building a somewhat large nest of twigs, roots, and grass-bents, well lined with wool, moss, and horsehair, and usually places it in a bush or high hedge. The eggs 4 to 6 in number vary from light greenish grey with light violet shell-markings and brown surface-spots, to pale salmon-colour with violet shell, and reddish surface-blotches, and average about 1.0 by 0.7.
352. Lanius collurio
352. Red-Backed Shrike.