Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus 

Found in the Sandhills close to trees during summer
Grey bird with black mask and wings featuring white patch
Prey on insects, rodents, and birds

Size & Shape

Loggerhead Shrikes are thick-bodied songbirds. They have large, blocky heads and a thick bill with a small hook. The tail is fairly long and rounded.

Color Pattern

The Loggerhead Shrike is a gray bird with a black mask and white flashes in the black wings. The gray head contrasts with the wide, black mask, black bill, and white throat. The tail is black with white corners; the wings are black with white at the base of the primaries that form a small “handkerchief” spot when the wing is closed and larger white patches in flight. Juveniles have darker barring above and below.


Loggerhead Shrikes sit on low, exposed perches and scan for rodents, lizards, birds, and insects. They eat smaller prey (such as ground beetles) right away, but they are famous for impaling larger items on thorns or barbed wire to be eaten later. The species often hovers. When flying it uses bursts of very rapid wingbeats.


Open country with scattered shrubs and trees is the typical habitat of Loggerhead Shrike, but the species can also be found in more heavily wooded habitats with large openings and in very short habitats with few or no trees.


Have you spotted this bird in a particular area?
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