The very similar Northern Shrike tends to occur farther north than Loggerhead Shrikes and is typically seen in the northern and central U.S. only in winter, when most Loggerhead Shrikes are farther south. Northern Shrikes have a narrower mask with a white upper border, and the bill often shows a pale base. Northern Mockingbirds are slimmer and browner, without a black mask and with yellow eyes and more white in the wing. Mockingbirds have dusky wings with less contrast between wing and back. Mockingbirds fly with slower wingbeats than Loggerhead Shrikes. Townsend’s Solitaires of the mountain West have a much smaller bill, small head, white eyering, and are more uniformly gray-brown, without the strong contrast of Loggerhead Shrikes.
Shrikes from eastern North America have pale to medium-gray rumps. Loggerhead Shrikes from the Interior West have white rumps similar to those of Northern Shrikes. Loggerhead Shrikes breeding in southern California are slightly darker above and much darker below. An endangered subspecies of Loggerhead Shrike from San Clemente Island, in southern California, is the darkest gray of all.
Find This Bird
In the South, Loggerhead Shrikes are quite common and you can quite easily find them by scanning fence posts, power poles and lines, and other obvious perches in open country. The species has become quite rare in the Northeast and upper Midwest and finding it there is much more problematic. However, your best bets involve searching areas of rough grassland with scattered shrubs and trees for the bird or for their caches of prey. In the West, Loggerhead Shrikes can be fairly common in similar open habitats. Loggerhead Shrikes also sometimes hover while hunting, so watch for hovering birds that seem too small to be American Kestrels.