Found year-round in most of Mexico and the southern half of the United States. Found in breeding season only in eastern Washington and Oregon, the northern Great Plains, and the Midwest. No longer found in New England and disappearing from the Mid-Atlantic states and the northern portions of the Midwest.
Short grass with isolated trees or shrubs, especially pastureland.
An opportunistic forager that consumes arthropods, amphibians, small reptiles, mammals, birds, and even roadkill and carrion. Often forages in recently plowed fields. Because it lacks heavy talons with which to capture and hold larger prey, the Loggerhead Shrike swoops down from a perch, attacks from behind, and impales prey on thorns or barbed-wire fences. Hangs poisonous prey, including monarch butterflies and eastern narrow-mouthed toads, for several days to allow the poison to break down.
Available cover is the most important criterion for nest site selection, and trees with thorns are preferred. The nest is usually well hidden and located on top of an existing nest. Mean clutch size is 5.4 eggs, and birds located at higher latitudes and farther west tend to have bigger clutches. Chicks are born helpless and stay in the nest until they can hop out. Second or third broods are somewhat common. Birds from nearby territories will sometimes cross boundaries to help defend another pair’s young against invaders.