Loggerhead shrike

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Project Description

Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

Range/Geographical Distribution: North America from southern Canada to Mexico.

Habitat: Open land, fields, wires, and scrub. 

Similar Species:  Northern mockingbird. 

Description:  A big-headed, small-tailed grey bird with black wings, a white breast, and a black mask.  Bill is hooked. 

Size: Length: 8-9” Wingspan: 11-12.5” Weight: 35-50g

Food:  Insects, lizards, mice, and birds.

Breeding:  Lays up to nine grayish eggs with dark spots in a nest in a tree.

Predators:  Larger birds of prey, snakes, dogs, and cats.  Also collides with cars.

Conservation Status: The loggerhead shrike is listed as least concern by IUCN but these birds have declined drastically and are absent from the northern part of their range.  The reason for this decline is unknown.

Interesting Facts:  Although it doesn’t look like a predator, the loggerhead shrike uses its hooked bill to catch prey and sever its spinal cord.  The shrike then impales the prey on a thorn while it rips the food apart.

On the Coast:  Loggerhead shrikes may be seen sitting on wires or atop trees along Georgia’s coast.

Project Details


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