Novice bird watchers often get Loggerhead Shrikes confused with Mockingbirds. They are close enough in looks that a quick glance misidentification is understandable. On second glance, even a novice will know that there is something different here – the bird looks like a Mockingbird on steroids!  While they are about the same size and both have gray, black and white coloration, the similarities stop there.

Shrikes are North America’s only predatory songbird. The beak is hooked like a raptor’s, but they don’t have talons for holding prey. To compensate for this lack, the Shrike family impales prey on thorns, barb wire fences etc. This practice has earned them the nickname “Butcher Bird”. They will readily eat insects, small snakes, lizards and even small birds.  Insect eating Shrikes even cast a pellet when their stomachs are full of hard exoskeletons.

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