Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus Linnaeus, 1766Endangered (MD)  -  S1B (Highly state rare breeder)    Synonyms: Butcher-bird, LOSH, White-rumped Shrike.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Aves   >   Order Passeriformes   >   Family Laniidae   >   Genus Lanius   


The Loggerhead Shrikes is a predatory songbird, feeding mostly on large insects, small mammals, and birds. Lacking the talons of raptors, it relies on a heavy, sharp-tipped bill to tear flesh. It impales its prey on thorny plants, sharp twigs, or barbed wire. Because of this behavior it is sometimes called Butcher-bird. In recent decades, Loggerhead Shrikes have been in steep decline throughout the eastern and midwestern United States. The species is listed as endangered in Maryland. Its preferred habitat is semi-open terrain, including pastures, fields, and cropland, and it often perches on telephone wires, trees, scrub, or fenceposts in these areas to search for prey. The main reason for the decline of this bird is not known, but suspected causes include collision with motor vehicles, pesticides used in agricultural fields and along roadways, and loss of hedgerows and other habitat (Robbins and Blom,1996).


Thorny plants used by Loggerhead Shrikes to impale their prey include hawthorns (Crataegus) spp. and Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia). The bird commonly places its nest in a dense and (and often thorny) tree or shrub, including Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana).

There are 125 records in the project database.

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A Loggerhead Shrike from Prince George's Co., Maryland (5/17/2008). Photo by Mikey Lutmerding. (MBP list)

Loggerhead Shrike in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/28/2014). Photo by Keith Eric Costley. (MBP list)

A wintering Loggerhead Shrike in Washington Co., Maryland (1/2/2012). Now rare and declining in Maryland, this individual returned for another winter in the same area. Found originally and then relocated this year by Jim Green. Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Loggerhead Shrike hunts along a roadside in the Everglades (2/27/2010). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Loggerhead Shrike in Frederick Co., Maryland (9/3/2014). Photo by Jim Stasz. (MBP list)

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