Eastern Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus migrans)
Action Required: Conservation breeding and population augmentation
Since 2003, Wildlife Preservation Canada has been leading the recovery effort for this critically endangered songbird. A 2015 survey estimated that roughly a dozen wild breeding pairs remain, found in a few isolated spots in Ontario.
Named for its disproportionately large — or “logger” — head, the loggerhead shrike is a medium-sized songbird, slightly smaller than a robin. Like its larger cousin, the northern shrike, loggerhead shrikes use their hooked bills to dispatch mice, frogs, grasshoppers, beetles and other small prey — making these two species the only truly predatory songbirds. Because they lack strong talons for grasping their meals, shrikes impale their dead prey on the thorns of shrubs or barbed wire and then tear off manageable chunks with their beak.
There are twelve distinct subspecies of loggerhead shrike across North America, all virtually identical in appearance. Two of them, including the eastern loggerhead shrike, occur in Canada. The Canadian populations are migratory, although many U.S. populations are not. Where Canada’s eastern loggerhead shrikes spend their winters still remains largely a mystery.
The federal Recovery Strategy for eastern loggerhead shrike calls for a number of conservation measures, including habitat stewardship, conservation breeding and release, and research into the shrike’s migration routes and overwintering grounds.
What we are doing
Find out how Wildlife Preservation Canada helps save eastern loggerhead shrike and other Canadian birds, and how you can make a difference.