Loggerhead ShrikeLanius ludovicianus

adult
Bob Steele/VIREO
juvenile
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult
Greg Lasley/VIREO
adult
James M. Wedge/VIREO
Loggerhead Shrike
Loggerhead Shrike

Family

Description

8-10" (20-25 cm). Slightly smaller than Northern Shrike, and slightly darker gray above, white below, with black face mask extending over bill.

Voice

A variety of harsh and musical notes and trills; a thrasher-like series of double phrases.

Listen

song #1
song #2
calls
calls & clacks

Habitat

Grasslands, orchards, and open areas with scattered trees; open grassy woodlands; deserts in the West.

Range

Breeds from southern British Columbia, central Alberta, central Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, southern Ontario and southern Quebec, south throughout United States. Winters in southern half of breeding range.

Discussion

In the southern half of North America this species is the counterpart of the Northern Shrike of the boreal regions of Alaska and Canada. In behavior and choice of habitat the two species are essentially similar, although the Loggerhead feeds mainly on large insects such as locusts. In cold weather, when insects are hard to find, it will hunt small birds or mice. The Loggerhead impales its prey - usually a small bird, mouse, or insect - on a thorn or barbed-wire fence which facilitates tearing it apart then or at a later time; hence its vernacular name "Butcher Bird."

Nesting

4-6 white eggs, spotted with gray and brown, in a bulky mass of twigs and grass lined with plant down and feathers and set in a thorny shrub or tree.

Similar Species

adult

Northern Mockingbird

9-11" (23-28 cm). Robin-sized. A slender, long-tailed gray bird with white patches on wings and tail.

adult

Northern Shrike

9-10 1/2" (23-27 cm). Robin-sized. Pale gray above, white below, with faint barring on underparts, and bold black mask ending at bill. Black tail with white edges. Stout, hooked bill.

adult

Clark's Nutcracker

12-13" (30-33 cm). Pigeon-sized, with flashing black, white, and gray pattern. Light gray, with dark eye and long, sharply pointed bill.

Vireo

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