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(Lanius collurio), a songbird of the family Laniidae. It is slightly larger than a sparrow (about 20 cm long and weighing 30 g), with reddish and light colors dominating the plumage and a dark band on each side of the head. The male is colored more brightly than the female. The red-backed shrike is found throughout Europe and western Asia. It lives on the edges of forests, in clearings, and in windbreak belts. It usually nests in bushes, and there are five or six spotted eggs in a clutch. The red-backed shrike imitates the songs of various birds. It feeds on insects and occasionally on lizards, fledglings, and small animals which it sometimes decapitates and impales on a twig to be used as a future source of food. It winters in South and Central Africa. The red-tailed, or brown, shrike (L. cristatus) is common in the eastern USSR, and the bay-backed shrike (L. vittatus) is found in southern Turkmenia (Badkhyz).