LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE

LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE(Lanius ludovicianus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Loggerhead Shrike adult has a grey head and back, and a black mask. Wings and tail are black with white patches. Throat is white, under parts whitish-light grey. Bill is black and upper mandible ends with a hook, and has a tomial tooth near the tip. Eyes, legs and feet are also black. Sexes are very similar. Juveniles are duller. Bird length is about 20 cm (8 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Lanius-ludovicianus
NAME: ‘Shrike’ is an onomatopoeia for the bird’s call. ‘Loggerhead’ is applied to a bird with a large head relative to body size. Latin genus name ‘Lanius’ means ‘butcher’, in reference to bird’s feeding behavior (see Diet below). Latin species name ‘ludovicianus’ means ‘of Louisiana’. Also called ‘Butcherbird’.
HABITAT: Semi-open areas that provide hunting perches, such as forest clearings, grassland or desert.
DIET: Insects, small birds and rodents. Hunts by perching on top of a tree, post or on a wire, then swoops down on prey and kills it with its hooked bill. Will impale prey on thorn or barbed wire to eat later.
NESTING: Nest is built in tree or shrub (often a thorny one). From four to seven light grey eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range includes central Canadian and USA Plains and south USA, also Mexico. Non-breeding grounds cover both coastal areas of Mexico.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loggerhead_shrike – /media/File:Lanius_ludovicianus_distr_ne
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION:  Listed as ‘near threatened by the IUCN, or endangered or vulnerable in various USA states and Canadian provinces, due to sharp population decline over last few decades. One factor might be ingestion of pesticide-laced prey, another would be habitat degradation.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Northern Shrike, Northern Mockingbird
REFERENCES: https://www.ontario.ca/page/loggerhead-shrike
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/198/overview/Loggerhead_Shrike.aspx
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/loggerhead-shrike (Missouri Department of Conservation)
https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/birds/grassland-and-shrub-birds/loggerhead-shrike.html (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency)
American Bird Conservancy (Loggerhead Shrike)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/loggerhead-shrike
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBR01030 (Montana Field Guide)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Lanius_ludovicianus/ (University of Michigan)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/loggerhead-shrike/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=LOSH&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)

Loggerhead Shrike - Flour Bluff, TX - Dec. 2009 - photo by Terry Ross
Loggerhead Shrike – Flour Bluff, TX – Dec. 2009 – photo by Terry Ross
Loggerhead Shrike, view from under - Golden Prairie area, MO- Nov. 2016 - photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren
Loggerhead Shrike, view from under – Golden Prairie area, MO- Nov. 2016 – photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren

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