Loggerhead Shrike is the smaller of the two
Shrike species found in the state, and the one found here during the
summertime. The Loggerhead Shrike can often be found perching on a post or
fence line as it searches for food. Has the nickname of "Butcher
Bird", because of its habit of impaling the bodies of prey items on spines
of plants or on barb wire. While usually returning later to consume the
stored prey, the impaled prey may also serve as a territory marker.
be found in nearly any open to semi-open country, as long as hunting perches are
Diet: Primarily feeds on large insects, especially
grasshoppers and crickets. Will also eat small rodents and small
birds. Less common prey includes fish, frogs, salamanders, lizards,
snakes, and snails.
Behavior: Feeds by observing from a perch, and
swooping down to capture prey when spotted.
Nesting: April through June. The nest of a
Loggerhead Shrike is a cup of sticks, weeds, grasses, and other material, lined
with softer material such as hair, grasses, moss, and feathers. The female
lays between 4 and 8 eggs, and she alone incubates them. When the eggs
hatch, both parents help feed the young. The young fledge after about 3
weeks, and typically stay with the parents for another 3 or 4 weeks after
Migration: Found year round in the southern half of the United
States. Birds in the Northern Plains and Canada move southward in the fall
(including those in South Dakota).
Conservation Status: Populations have declined in recent decades.
Loggerhead Shrikes are now nearly absent
from the Northeastern United States and locally elsewhere. However, they
still have a very wide geographic range and are common in parts of their range.
The IUCN lists the
Loggerhead Shrike as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Loggerhead Shrike"
Photo Information: December 10th, 2012 - Everglades
National Park in Florida - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Loggerhead Shrike photos.