More
    Categories

    Northern Shrike

    Related Articles

    Overview

    The voice of the Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) is a mixture of warbles and harsh tones with a Robin-like quality, heard especially in late spring. Unusual among songbirds, shrikes prey on small birds and rodents, catching them with the bill and sometimes impaling them on thorns or barbed wire for storage.

    Appearance

    What to look for:

    • Black tail with white edges
    • Faint barring on underparts and a bold black mask ending at the stout
    • Hooked bill
    • Pale gray above
    • Robin-sized
    • White below

    Hunting

    Like other northern birds that depend on rodent populations, the Northern Shrike’s movements are cyclical, becoming more abundant in the South when northern rodent populations are low. At times these birds hunt from an open perch, where they sit motionless until prey appears; at other times they hover in the air ready to pounce on anything that moves.

    Distribution & Habitat

    The Northern shrike prefers open woodlands and brushy swamps in summer, open grasslands with fence posts and scattered trees in winter. Its distribution range covers Alaska and the Labrador Peninsula to Quebec, Saskatchewan and N.British Columbia. It winters south to Virginia, Texas, and N. Carolina.

    Video Credits: Wild Bird and Nature Videos by McElroy Productions
    Image Credits: Mick Thompson

    Categories

    Other Topics

    Bearded Iris

    Overview The Bearded Iris, also known as the Iris Germanica, include tall, intermediate and standard bearded irises. Tall...

    Ragamuffin

    History & Overview Ragamuffins are direct descendants of Josephine, the founding queen of Ann Baker's original Ragdoll lines. Despite their...

    Characin

    With almost 1,200 species, Characins rival the Cyprinidae family in numbers in the wild. This family contains many popular fish. Among the tetras, for...

    Dermoid Cysts

    What Are Dermoid Cysts? Dermoid cysts, also called dermoid sinuses, are rare congenital developmental abnormalities that occur in...

    Budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus)

    It is difficult to think of Budgerigars as anything other than cage or aviary birds, but they are both larger and more...