Bird field guide > Bird watching diary > Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike


The Red-backed Shrike Lanius Collurio may be considered a tolerably regular, but not very common, summer visitant to the Channel Islands. In July, I several times saw a male bird about the Vallon, in Guernsey. The female no doubt had a nest at the time in the Vallon grounds, but I could not then get in there to search for it.

As the Red-backed Shrike frequently returns to the same place every year, I expected again to find this bird, and perhaps the female and the nest this year, about the Vallon, but I could see nothing of either birds or nest, though I searched both inside and outside the Vallon grounds.

Mr. Le Cheminant, who lives at Le Ree and has a small collection of Guernsey eggs mostly collected by himself in the Island, had one Red-backed Shrike's egg of the variety which has the reddish, or rather perhaps pink, tinge. There were also some eggs in a Guernsey collection in the Museum. These were all of the more ordinary variety. There were also 2 skins a male and female in the Museum.

The bird seems rather local in its distribution about the Island, as I never saw one about the Vale in any of my visits, not even this year, when I was there for 2 months, and had ample opportunity of observing it had it been there. There are, however, plenty of places nearly as well suited to it in the Vale as about the Vallon. I have never seen it in either of the other Islands, though no doubt it occasionally occurs both in Sark and Herm, if not in Alderney.

Prof. Ansted includes the Red-backed Shrike in his list, and marks it only as occurring in Guernsey. I have no evidence of any other Shrike occurring in the Islands, though I should think the Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor, might be an occasional autumn or winter visitant to the Islands; but I have never seen a specimen myself or been able to glean any satisfactory information as to the occurrence of one, either from the local bird-stuffers or any of my friends who have so kindly supplied me with notes.