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


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.


Click here for more information on The Loggerhead Shrike from

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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