Adult is crisply-marked gray and black, with black face mask that is bordered by a broad diffuse white malar below and a thin white supercilium above, relatively long and stout hooked bill, gray head and back, light gray underparts, black wings with white patch at base of primaries, and long black tail with white corners. Immature has faint brown barred and scaled pattern on underparts, and more diffuse face mask. Slightly larger and bulkier than Loggerhead Shrike, with a narrower black face mask that does not connect across the forehead above the bill, longer bill, and lighter body color.
Length: 25 (cm) Wingspan: 37 (cm)
Usually silent in winter. Song is a series of repeated whistle calls and phrases. Call notes are nasal and harsh.
Open country with scattered shrubs and trees; fields, plains, farmlands, agricultural areas, deserts, bogs, willows.
Typically perches in visible locations, along fences or atop shrubs; usually alone or in pairs. Like Loggerhead Shrike, impales prey on thorns or barbed wire for later consumption. Nest is a cup of twigs, lined with finer materials, placed in dense tree or bush. Flight is undulating, unlike Loggerhead which flies more directly.
Hunts from exposed shrub, fencepost, or other elevated perch, pouncing on prey from above. Carnivorous; eats small animals, birds, and insects.
Can mimic other birds. One March Ron L. videotaped (and recorded) a Northern Shrike mimicing a FLOCK of European Starlings and an American Robin in a smal Russian Olive near Othello WA. It interspersed its own chatter and whistles in the style of a Sage Thrasher.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this occasionally, confident.
Expanded Life History
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|02/26/11||Dave Irons, OR||1|
|Activity||Date & Time|
|Ron Louderback added a note to Northern Shrike Notes||12/02/2011 at 12:44PM|