Loggerhead Shrike
(Lanius ludovicianus)


Picture of bird
© Tony Battiste
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the Loggerhead Shrike is mainly a species of the shrubby prairie grasslands (L. i. excubitorides), but also occurs in very small numbers in south-central and eastern Ontario's alvar ecosystems (L. i. migrans; taxonomy is under review). Breeding Bird Surveys and other survey programs indicate that the Loggerhead Shrike has experienced a marked decrease in the national population since the early 1970s. The two subspecies were listed under the Species at Risk Act in 2005 (excubitorides) and 2003 (migrans). The Loggerhead Shrike has been the focus of conservation actions, including a recovery program and a captive breeding and release program (Environment Canada 2010c, Environment Canada 2014a). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Endangered2014Loggerhead Shrike Eastern subspecies
COSEWIC (Canada)Threatened2014Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies
COSEWIC (Canada)Non-active2014Loggerhead Shrike migrans subspecies
SARA (Canada)No Status2003Loggerhead Shrike Eastern subspecies
SARA (Canada)Threatened2005Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies
SARA (Canada)Endangered2003Loggerhead Shrike migrans subspecies
IUCN (Global)Near threatened2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Common birds in steep decline2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge DecreaseHighNot Applicable
Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspeciesLarge DecreaseHighBelow Acceptable Level
Loggerhead Shrike Eastern subspeciesLarge DecreaseMediumBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late April and mid-May and ends between mid-July and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

The Loggerhead Shrike has faced significant habitat loss and degradation across the wintering and breeding grounds (COSEWIC 2014). These habitat changes have been correlated with range-wide population declines. However, range-wide habitat loss is likely not the only cause of the population declines; suitable habitat remains unoccupied in areas of the United States and Eastern Canada, suggesting other potential factors at play (COSEWIC 2014). Other possible threats include: pesticides, road-associated mortality, adverse weather and interspecific competition (COSEWIC 2014). In Ontario, range retraction may be the result of natural succession allowing the vegetation to develop beyond the shrubby grassland stage preferred by Loggerhead Shrikes (Chabot 2007). For information on the legal status of the subspecies under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery Strategy, see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Boreal Hardwood TransitionBoreal Hardwood Transition, sub-region and priority type: Ontario and Manitoba -- Conservation
Boreal Taiga PlainsBoreal Taiga Plains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation
Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence PlainLower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Conservation