Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Northern Shrike

Latin Name: Lanius excubitor 

The Northern Shrike is a songbird found in the tall trees and shrubs of the taiga and tundra of the Northern United States and Southern Canada. With the length of 9 inches and a wingspan of up to 13 inches, the Shrike can be distinguished by its grey back and its black mask. It is a predatory bird that feeds on insects, small mammals, small birds, and even reptiles. What is unique about this creature is its feeding style. After catching its prey with its beak or claws, it often impales the prey on thorns or barbed wire and tear away any wings, spines, or stingers with its beak. This bloody ritual is what gave the Shrike the nickname "the Butcher Bird". After impaling its prey, the Shrike either eats it immediately or leave it behind to eat later.

Lanius excubitor

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