Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Loggerhead Shrike

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Laniidae | [latin] Lanius ludovicianus | [UK] Loggerhead Shrike | [FR] Pie-grieche migratrice | [DE] Lousianawurger | [ES] Alcaudon yanqui | [NL] Amerikaanse Klapekster


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Lanius ludovicianus NA, MA widespread
Lanius ludovicianus anthonyi
Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides
Lanius ludovicianus grinnelli
Lanius ludovicianus ludovicianus
Lanius ludovicianus mearnsi
Lanius ludovicianus mexicanus
Lanius ludovicianus miamensis
Lanius ludovicianus migrans

Physical charateristics

A big-headed, slim-tailed, gray, black, and white bird with a black mask; a bit smal
ler than a Robin. Shrikes sit quietly on wires or tops of bushes; taking off, they fly low with flickering flight, showing white wing patches, then swoop upward to their perch.

Listen to the sound of Loggerhead Shrike

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Loggerhead Shrike.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 28 cm wingspan max.: 32 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 16 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 19 days fledging max.: 22 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 8  


North America, Middle America : widespread


Semi-open country with lookout posts; wires, trees, scrub.
Breeds in any kind of semi-open terrain, from large clearings in wooded regions to open grassland or desert with a few scattered trees or large shrubs. In winter, may be in totally treeless country if fences or wires provide hunting perches.


In many regions, nesting begins quite early in spring. In courtship, male performs short flight displays; male feeds female.
Nest: Placed in a dense (and often thorny) tree or shrub, usually 5-
30′ above the ground, occasionally higher, in a spot well hidden by foliage. Nest (built by both sexes) is a solidly constructed but bulky cup of twigs, grass, weeds, strips of bark, lined with softer materials such as r
ootlets, animal hair, feathers, plant down.
Eggs: 5-6, sometimes 4-8. Grayish white to pale buff, with spots of brown and gray often concentrated at large end. Incubation is by female, about 16-17 days. Male feeds female during incubation (sometimes bringin
g her food he has stored on thorns earlier).
Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest at about 17-21 days, are tended by parents for another 3-4 weeks.

Feeding habits

Mostly large insects, also rodents and small birds.
Diet in summer is mainly insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets, also beetles, wasps, and others. Eats mice and other rodents, and small birds, especially
in winter. Also sometimes included in diet are spiders, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, crayfish, small fish, and other items.
Behavior: Forages mostly by watching from an exposed perch, then swooping down to take prey on or near ground. Kills its prey using its hooked bill. Often stores uneaten prey by impaling it on thorn or barbed wire.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Loggerhead Shrike status Least Concern


Southern Canada to southern Mexico. Rare and declining breeder within dash line.

Distribution map

Loggerhead Shrike distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *