Category
A
Status
Rare
Breeding status
First Record
1876
Last Recorded
2004

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio


Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Rod Ferbrache
  Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011 Photo: © Rod Ferbrache (visit site)

Red-backed Shrikes breed across much of Europe, with the exception of the UK and northern parts of Scandinavia. Numbers have undergone a large decline in the west of their range due to agricultural change and it is now extinct as a regular breeding species in the British Isles. It formerly bred in Sark and Guernsey and probably Alderney. The last breeding record came from Sark in 1903. It is now a rare passage migrant.

Smith described the Red-backed Shrike as a 'tolerably regular, but not very common, summer visitant to the Channel Islands.' In his visits to the islands he saw a male at Le Vallon, St Martin in June 1876 but did not see a female although it 'no doubt had a nest at the time in the Vallon grounds, but I could not get in there to search for it'. Smith also describes an egg collection belonging to 'Young Mr Le Cheminant, who lives at La Ree' and found one shrike egg with a pinkish tinge. There were also eggs and two skins in the Museum at the time. In 1878, Smith spent two months Guernsey and did not see it in other localities and it must have been a very scarce and local breeding bird at that time. As Dobson points out calling 'tolerably regular' may have been a bit enthusiastic. However, the evidence does point to it being more common in previous years.

In Alderney, its past status is a little confusing. E.D. Marquand, a very competant observer, spent four years in the island around 1900 and wrote in 1904 that, although he never saw the bird on the island, he had 'no less than 15 eggs brought to me in 1899, and others again in the following years. On June 2nd, 1902 a boy brought me three eggs of the pink or reddish variety, which is rather uncommon.' Thompson, who visited the island at various intervals between 1912 and 1939, thought these claims difficult to believe because Marquand never saw the bird himself and that when quizzing the 'oldest inhabitant and others' he could not find anyone 'who has ever heard of these birds nesting in Alderney'. It is difficult to know what to make of this information. Marquand was reliable but it is odd that he did not see the bird itself.

The last Bailiwick breeding record is from Sark. E.F.M. Elms spent a week there between 25 May and 1 June 1903 and saw 'several individuals, very clamourous.' Given the date and the noise they were making, it is highly likely that these were breeding birds.

Since the extinction of the Red-backed Shrike as a breeding species, it has been a rare passage migrant. Very few old records exist and Dobson only reports 3 records, all from Alderney, between 1903 and 1951. This trend continued until 1969 and the only records were from Longis in Alderney on 2 September 1960, one at Du Moulin, St Peter Port on 7 September 1966 and one at the St Sampson's Marais on 11 August 1968.

During the period under review, Red-backed Shrikes have been a scarce migrant, occurring in 12 years between 1969 and 1999. Most records have been of immature birds in autumn and are usually seen in September and October, peaking in the last week in September and the first half of October. There have only been three spring records, one in 1983 and two in 1996; all these birds occurred in June. Most records are from coastal areas; six birds have been seen at Pleinmont, and there were single records from La Grande Mare, Les Landes, Chouet, Fort le Marchant, Fort le Crocq, Richmond, Les Prevosts and Corbière.

UPDATE



View all photos (12)
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Rod Ferbrache
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Rod Ferbrache (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Cindy  Carre
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Cindy Carre (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet headland [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Vic Froome
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet headland [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Vic Froome (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Cindy  Carre
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Cindy Carre (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Wayne Turner
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Wayne Turner (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © paul  carre
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © paul carre (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet [HOM] on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Cindy  Carre
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Cindy Carre (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Pleinmont [PLE] on 26/9/2015. Photo: © Mark Guppy (visit site)

Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Cindy  Carre
Red-backed Shrike photographed at Fort Hommet on 13/11/2011. Photo: © Cindy Carre (visit site)

 


View database records (26)
Red-backed Shrike Les Prevosts Road 14/6/1996 1
Red-backed Shrike Corbiere 23/6/1996 24/6/1996 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Le Marchant 5/10/1997 19/10/1997 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont 14/7/2002 1
Red-backed Shrike Rue de Bergers N.R. 12/9/2003 1
Red-backed Shrike Rue de Bergers N.R. 12/9/2003 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont 9/6/2004 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 0/0/0 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Hommet headland[HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Fort Hommet [HOM] 13/11/2011 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1
Red-backed Shrike Pleinmont [PLE] 26/9/2015 1