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Loggerhead Shrike
(Lanius ludovicianus)


Picture of bird
© Tony Battiste

In Canada, the Loggerhead Shrike is mainly a species of the shrubby prairie grasslands (L. l. excubitorides), but also occurs in very small numbers in south-central and eastern Ontario's Alvar ecosystems (L. l. migrans). Breeding Bird Surveys and other survey programs indicate that the population has undergone a marked decrease in population since 1970. Listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and the Species at Risk Act as Threatened (prairie population) and Endangered (eastern population), the species has been the focus of conservation actions, including a recovery program and a captive breeding and release program.


Listing of the main designations for the species.
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies / Population
COSEWIC (Canada)Threatened2004Loggerhead Shrike excubitorides subspecies
COSEWIC (Canada)Endangered2000Loggerhead Shrike migrans subspecies
SARAThreatened2005Loggerhead Shrike excubitorides subspecies
SARAEndangered2003Loggerhead Shrike migrans subspecies
IUCN (Global)Least concern2009 
Wildspecies (Canada)At Risk2010 

Population status

Population status relative to circa 1970
Geographical areaStatusReliability
CanadaLarge DecreaseHigh

Population estimate


Distribution maps


Migration strategy

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility (based on Canadian % of global population)


Conservation and management

Reduction in farmland suitable as nesting areas for the Loggerhead Shrike is occurring in many parts of its range (Yosef 1996). On the Canadian prairies, a reduction of 39% in unimproved pasture, a preferred habitat (Yosef 1996), occurred between 1946 and 1986 (Telfer 1993). In 1990 in Quebec, pastures occupied only 16% of their 1940 area (Robert and Laporte 1991). Although a concern in many parts of the North American range, breeding habitat loss is likely not the only cause of the population declines; loss of wintering habitat, pesticides, road-associated mortality, adverse weather and interspecific competition are all possible contributing factors (Yosef 1996, Chabot 2007, Robert and Laporte 1991). In Ontario, range retraction may, in part, be due to natural succession (Chabot 2007) of habitat in areas where an absence of cattle grazing allows the vegetation to develop beyond the shrubby grassland stage preferred by Loggerhead Shrikes. Recent captive breeding and release activities for the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike have had some success in increasing that population ( For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery Strategy, see the SARA Registry.


Bird Conservation Plans

Information on this and other species has been compiled by ecoregion through the Bird Conservation planning process. For more details, click Bird Conservation Plans.