Dry savanna. From sea-level - 3,200 m.
Afghanistan (P), Albania (B), Andorra (B), Angola, Armenia (B), Austria (B), Azerbaijan (B), Bahrain (P), Belarus (B) (NB), Belgium (B), Bosnia and Herzegovina (B), Botswana, Bulgaria (B) (P), Burundi, Chad, Congo [The Democratic Republic of the], Croatia (Local Name: Hrvatska) (B), Cyprus (B) (P), Czech Republic (B), Denmark (B) (P), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia (B), Ethiopia, Finland (B) (P), France (B) (P), Gabon, Georgia (B), Germany (B), Greece (B) (P), Hungary (B), India, Iran [Islamic Republic of] (B), Iraq (P), Israel (B), Italy (B) (P), Jordan (P), Kazakhstan (B), Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia (B), Lebanon (B), Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Liechtenstein (B), Lithuania (B), Luxembourg (B), Macedonia [The Former Yugoslav Republic of] (B), Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Moldova [Republic of] (B), Mongolia (B), Montenegro (B), Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands Antilles (B), Norway (B), Oman, Pakistan, Poland (B), Portugal (B), Qatar, Romania (B), Russia (Central Asian) (B), Russia (European) (B), Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia (B), Slovakia (Slovak Republic) (B), Slovenia (B), Somalia, South Africa, Spain (B) (NB), Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden (B), Switzerland (B), Syrian Arab Republic (B), Tajikistan, Tanzania [United Republic of], Turkey (B), Uganda, Ukraine (B), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom (B), Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Vagrant to Algeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China (mainland), Congo [The Democratic Republic of the], Faroe Islands, Gambia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Ireland, Morocco, Nigeria, Seychelles, Tunisia.
Estimated population is 40,000,000 - 150,000,000 (2010).
Mainly insects, especially beetles. Also some small birds and mammals.
A harsh, 'chack, chack'. Song, is subdued, very long and with mimicry.
A loose cup of plant materials, in a bush about 1 meter above the ground, with a compact lining.
3 - 7; very variable ground color with multicolored spots at the larger end.
Thought to form a superspecies with Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) and Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus). Has been considered conspecific with one or both.
Subspecies intergrade. Proposed subspecies, juxtus (described from east Suffolk, in eastern England), is indistinguishable from nominate.
The following 3 subspecies are recognised:
- collurio Linnaeus, 1758 - Breeds Europe (except north, north-western and south-west) east to western Siberia, south to northern Iberia, Sardinia, southern Italy, Sicily, Balkans (south to Croatia), central Romania, Ukraine, and plains north of Caucasus. Non-breeding southern and eastern Africa.
- kobylini Buturlin, 1906 - Breeds Balkans (southern from Bosnia) east to Crimea and Caucasus, south to Asia Minor, Cyprus and north-western Iran. Non-breeding southern and eastern Africa.
- pallidifrons H. C. Johansen, 1952 - Breeds western and west-central Siberia (east to north-western Altai). Non-breeding southern and eastern Africa.