Lanius ludovicianus
(Loggerhead Shrike)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Laniidae
Family Description: Shrikes

Physical Description:
8-10" (20-25 cm). Gray crownClick word for definition extends down back of neck and shoulders. Black mask; white cheeks and throat. Black wings and tail edged with white. Light gray below. Juvenile barred on underparts.

Similar Species- Northern Shrike, Northern Mockingbird

Song is a series of coupled phrases: chereep-chereep. Calls include a creaky zeeet.

Breeds across portions of Canada, south through Great Basin to Baja California, Mexico, Gulf Coast, and southern Florida. Winters in southern half of breeding range, south to Gulf Coast, southern Florida, and Mexico.

Found in open country with scattered trees and shrubs, in savannas, desert scrub and, occasionally, in open juniper woodlands. Often found on poles, wires or fenceposts.

Feeds primarily on insects, small birds, lizards, and rodents. Diet varies with season and location; in parts of range, 76% of food eaten in winter may be meat.

Constructs bulky, cup- shaped nest in shrub. A study in southeastern Idaho located nests in sagebrush, bitterbrush, and greasewood. Most nests were in sagebrush, and a lower than expected nest height was observed in all shrub species. Species hunts from perch, or catches prey in mid-air. Territorial throughout year. Size of territory may be about 6 ha in grassy hills; 10-16 ha in semi-desert. May maintain separate breeding and winter territories. Idaho study indicated that shrikes directly lowered nesting success of Sage and Brewer's Sparrows and Sage Thrashers. Loggerheads are one of 3 shrub-steppe neotropical migrants declining in Idaho. Shrike species throughout world are thought to be declining.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 4-5 eggs (sometimes 6-7), for 14-16 days. Incubation by both sexes (for 10-12 days) has also been reported. Young are tended by both adults, fledgeClick word for definition in about 3 wk, and become independent in 36 days. Females produce 2 broodsClick word for definition/season.

Element Code: ABPBR01030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G?
State Rank: S3,NTMB
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Woods, C.P. and T.J. Cade. 1996. Nesting habits of the loggerhead shrike in sagebrush. Condor 98:75-81.

Photo by C. S. Robbins. ©2002.
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.