Loggerhead Shrike

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lanius ludovicianus

Loggerhead Shrike

The Loggerhead Shrike is the smaller of the two native shrikes seen in North America. It is common across the southern states of the US but is struggling to survive in the southern regions of Canada. Especially in Ontario, where large efforts are being made to reintroduce these birds back into their known habitat of the past.

Adults have gray back and rump, and black and white wings. A white conspicuous wing bar crosses the base of primaries, striking in flight.

The tail is fairly long and black, with outer tail feathers broadly tipped and bordered with white. When the bird fans its tail, tips and edges appear as white sides to the tail. Underparts are white, very slightly barred with gray.

Both sexes are similar.

Juveniles have tinged brown head and upperparts. Head and back are finely barred with dark. Underparts are white, finely barred dusky. Juveniles resemble the adults during its first year.

The Loggerhead Shrike measures about 7.9 to 9.1 inches in length, with a wingspan of 11 to 12.6 inches and weighs about 46 grams.

SONGS: Quiet songs composed of a rhythmic series of short trills, rasps, and buzzes mixed with clear, often descending notes.

Both sexes perform a territory song, similar to the spring song but rougher and harsher.

CALL: Both sexes utter a variety of muttered trills, stutters and scolds.

OTHER SOUNDS: When defending nest sites or when fledglings are dangerously close to predators, the female rapidly click their bills to produce a staccato sound.

They feed mainly on insects (grasshoppers and beetles) during the breeding season. They prey on both vertebrates and invertebrates. They feed on mice, small amphibians and small birds.

Lives in open and semi-open country with scattered trees and bushes. It is present in desert shrublands, in juniper or pinyon-juniper woodlands, and often around the boundaries of ranches and towns.

Central Canada, border of Canada states and in the Greater Midwest of the United States.

During spring and summer migrations, it may be seen in California, southern Mexico and Florida.

It winters from southern Oregon and Kansas, Tennessee and Virginia, and southwards, to southern Mexico.

Northern populations are migratory.

The male and female share the nest selection, and both gather nest materials. The female usually builds the cup-shaped nest with thick twigs woven together, and lined with fibers and padded with feathers, hair or cotton.

The female lays 5 to 7 grayish-buff eggs spotted with dark. Incubation starts when the last eggs are almost laid. The female incubates and is fed by the male. Incubation lasts about 16 to 17 days.


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