Caught by the River

Matt's Bird of the Week – Red-backed shrike

Matt Sewell | 26th June 2014


Red-backed Shrike in a Hawthorn Tree (Lanius collurio)
Words and picture by Matt Sewell

With conker-red wings, club-like beak and a long tail that disguises the fact that they are not much bigger than a House Sparrow – so smaller than their cousin, the great grey Shrike, but every bit as hawk-like and brutal. Their skewered mammal kebab shops have given shrikes a bad name – in fact, in Germany they were called the Destroying Angel. Wow, that certainly is a bad name for somebody who is a very welcome visitor. Just don’t tell the local animal population that they’re coming.

Matt’s beautiful new book Our Woodland Birds is out today and is available from our shop, priced £10.

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