Bird: Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Height: 10"

Description: Similar in size and shape to a Northern Mockingbird. Top of head, and upper part of wings are solid gray. A broad black mask extends around eyes and continues over beak. Beak is short and dark with a small hook. Breast is white. Ends of wings are dark. White patches appear on wings during flight. Legs and feet are dark. Juvenile is lighter and more distinctly barred.

Voice: A high-pitched, extended "deeeeeeet. deeeeet." Audio is available at eNature.com.

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Feeding: Called the "Butcher Bird" because it impales its prey on a thorn, or a barb of a barbed wire fence. The Loggerhead Shrike eats large insects, lizards, small mammals, and small birds.

Behavior at Wakodahatchee: Loggerhead Shrikes commonly perch in the very tops of trees on the berms. They like a tall and obvious perch. In the summer the Shrikes disappear. Upon their return, the first shrikes I saw this year performed the bizarre ritual described below. It was an odd display because it was out of breeding season.

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Click here for more information on The Loggerhead Shrike from eNature.com

I was waiting for a pair of Blue-winged Teals to swim into a patch of sunlight when these two Loggerhead Shrikes started performing behind me. When I turned around, they were both chirping loudly and facing toward me (frame 1). Once I was watching them, they took turns dancing with their heads down and tails up (frames two and three). Then one of them perched on a fireflag flower stalk while the other aggrsively chased a Red-winged Blackbird out of the reeds. Please contact me if you know the purpose of this ritual, or have seen a similar one. Loggerhead Shrikes can usually be found perched in the trees on the berms at Wakodahatchee.

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