The brown shrike is closely related to the red-backed shrike and isabelline shrike. Like most other shrikes, it has a distinctive black 'bandit-mask' through the eye. and is found mainly in open scrub habitats, where it perches on the tops of thorny bushes in search of prey. Several populations of this widespread species form distinctive subspecies which breed in temperate Asia and migrate to their winter quarters in tropical Asia. They are sometimes found as vagrants in Europe and North America.