The Bird Book/Shrikes

The Bird Book by Chester A. Reed
Shrikes: Family Laniidae


621. NORTHERN SHRIKE. Lanius borealis.

Range. North America, breeding north of our borders; winters in northern half of the United States and casually farther south.

All Shrikes are similar in nature and plumage, being grayish above and white below, with black wings, tail and ear patches, and with white outer tail feathers and bases of primaries; the present species may be known by its larger size (length over 10 inches) and wavy dusky lines on the breast. They are bold and cruel birds, feeding upon insects, small rodents and small birds, in the capture of which they display great cunning and courage; as they have weak feet, in order to tear their prey to pieces with their hooked bill, they impale it upon thorns. They nest in thickets and tangled underbrush, making their nests of vines, grasses, catkins, etc., matted together into a rude Grayish white structure. During April or May they lay from four to six grayish white eggs, spotted and blotched with yellowish brown and umber; size 1.05 x .75.

622. LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE. Lanius ludovicianus ludovicianus .

Range. United States, east of the Plains, breeding north to New England and Illinois; winters in Southern States.

Like the last but smaller (length 9 inches), not marked below and with the ear patches sharply defined. They nest in hedges or thickly tangled brush, showing a predilection for dense thorn bushes, where they place Grayish white their piles of weeds, grasses, feathers and rubbish; the four or five eggs are laid in April or May; they are like those of the last, but smaller, averaging .96 x .72.


Northern Shrike

I. E. Hess



6'22a. WHITE-RUMPED SHRIKE. ovicianus excubitorides.

Lanius iud

Loggerhead Shrik

Range. North America, west of the Plains, breeding north to Manitoba and the Saskatchewan; winters south to Mexico.

Like the last but paler and the rump white. Their nesting habits and eggs are in every respect like those of the Loggerhead Shrike.


Lanius ludovicianus gambeli.

Range. Pacific coast north to British Columbia.

Similar to the eastern form but with the breast washed with brownish and with indistinct wavy bars. The eggs cannot be distinguished from those of the others.

622c. ISLAND SHRIKE. Lanius ludovicianus anthonyi.

Range. Santa Barbara Islands, California. Like the last but smaller and darker. Eggs not distinguishable.