My Bad … It’s a Northern Shrike After All

Last night we got a wonderful photo of a shrike. In my excitement about identifying it, I got the website windows mixed up. Upon further review, this is a Northern Shrike, not a Logger head.

So what’s the difference? Well, everything I claimed in my previous post was for a Loggerhead is really for a Northern — the narrow eye-stripe not going above the eye, the pale bill at the base. Another feature that I hadn’t realized is distinctive of Northern Shrikes is that they have a little bit of scalloping on their chest feathers — you can faintly see it here as mottling.

Northern Shrike with a narrow eye-band and scalloped feathers on it’s chest.

In contrast, a Loggerhead has a THICK eye band, a heavier beak and a pure white chest. Here’s a nice website that describes the two side-by-side. (

Loggerhead shrike in Texas. Courtesy Terry Ross at Wikipediea.
Lanius_ludovicianus_-Texas_-USA-8.jpg: Terry Rossderivative work: Snowmanradio, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Northern Shrikes are winter visitors to Colorado. And unlike the Loggerheads, Northern populations seem to be doing fine.

Published by Amy Law

Amy Law is a science geek. She feels about science the way some people feel about music, or art, or sports – a total and complete emotional connection. She thinks in science. For Amy, there’s nothing better than helping people see the beauty of science as she does. She loves to untangle a complicated subject into its parts, explaining it so that anybody can understand what’s happening. Let her show you her world...

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