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Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

 A small gray, black, and white bird of open areas, the loggerhead shrike hardly appears to be a predator. But it uses its hooked beak to kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds, and then impales them on thorns to hold them while it rips them apart. 

 The loggerhead shrike is a predator, but it does not have the strong feet and talons of a raptor. It does have a strongly hooked bill for gripping flesh, and a strong notch or "tooth" near the bill tip that helps sever the spinal cord of its prey. It uses thorns and barbed wire to hold large prey while it rips it up, and may wedge prey into a fork in a branch for the same purpose.


The population of this species has declined in the northeastern parts of its range, possibly due to loss of suitable habitat and pesticide use.


Facts About Loggerhead Shrike

Also known as the "Butcher Bird"


It is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America

"Loggerhead" refers to the relatively large head as compared to the rest of the body

Decorates its impaled victim with feathers and bills in order to attract a mate


Last Updated: Sep 11, 2013
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