Northern Shrike

Lanius excubitor

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Shrikes (Laniidae)

Code 4

NSHR

Code 6

LANEXC

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Unknown

The Northern Shrike has a large range, estimated globally at over 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, this bird prefers savanna, grassland, wetland, desert, forest, and shrubland ecosystems as well as rocky areas. The global population of this bird is not fully quantified but estimated to be very high and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Northern Shrike is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Northern Shrike: Medium shrike with gray upperparts,pale gray underparts. Mask is black with white border, bill is heavy and slightly hooked. Wings are black with white patches. Tail is long, black, and white-edged. Legs and feet are black. Flight is swift and undulating on shallow rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Northern Shrike: Breeds from northern Alaska and the Northwest Territories south to central Quebec, northern Manitoba and northern British Columbia. Migrates south in winter as far as central and southwestern states. This species prefers forest edges, open willow brush, and brush-bordered swamps and bogs.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kdldi", "plid-plid", "fay, fay", "reed, reed, reed", "shraaaa"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Since they lack talons, they stun or kill their prey with blows from their powerful beaks. Then, if they do not eat their prey immediately, they impale it on thorns or barbed wire. This serves not only as a food cache but also marks territory and attracts mates.
  • The species name of the Northern Shrike, Lanius excubitor, means, "Butcher watchman."
  • Their nest is so deep that while incubating, all that can be seen of the female is the tip of her tail.
  • A group of shrikes are collectively known as an "abattoir" and a "watch" of shrikes.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Northern Shrike

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Upper mandibleX
The upper part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X