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  • Writer's pictureDay Scott

The Avian Slayer

Loggerhead Shrike

Lanius ludovicianus

Meet the SONGBIRD known for snapping necks, cracking skulls and cutting through spinal cords. The Loggerhead Shrike (LOSH) is not here for games (well maybe the avian hunger games). Equipped with Leatherman tool-like (tomial teeth) bills, these baleful bandits are known for impaling their victims onto sharp objects (like barbed-wire) to slash and cache. Despite weighing only 50 grams, they are capable of taking small mammals, birds, and lizards that may be equal to their own weight.

These predatory pouncers are so bad ass, they’ve learned to eat the abdomens and heads of the toxic lubber grasshopper, while avoiding the poisonous thorax. Their genus name, Lanius, is derived from the latin word for “butcher”, landing them the nickname, butcher bird. A group of shrikes are collectively known as an "abattoir" ( aka—> slaughterhouse). The next time you’re hiking and notice mangled bodies of invertebrates hanging like Christmas ornaments along a fence, you’re in shrike territory. #songbirdsThatKill 🩸💀🔪


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