Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Desert Birds >>> Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Let's face it, this isn't the clearest photo possible, but it is diagnostic and more like the view most of us get most of the time. It is perched in a Foothills Palo Verde at Estrella Mountain Wilderness, Arizona. 19 April 2009.

A smartly gray and white bird with a distinct black mask through the eyes. The bill is heavy with a hook at the tip. These are predatory song birds fond of large insects like grasshoppers and occasionally small mammals. From a prominent perch they sally down to the ground to capture prey. Male shrikes will display their captured prey on thorns of barbed wire - presumably to demonstrate the quality of the territory they're defending and how adept they are at providing for a potential family.

Loggerhead Shrikes are more numerous in the Sonoran Desert during the winter after the arrival of migrating northern birds. They are found in virtually any habitat where prey are abundant: near agricultural fields, riparian zones, desert washes and grasslands. The require a fairly high perch from which to hunt. Power lines are a favored lookout spot.

Year Round Resident - Migration from north increases winter population

Sponsored Links:

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009