Breeding Biology


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Typically, Loggerhead Shrikes are seasonally monogamous. Males court a female by offering food. When she is ready to form a pair bond, she accepts the food and often responds with begging calls and wing-flutters.

Both sexes participate in nest building. They choose a nest site based on how much cover and protection it provides, preferring dense, thorny protective trees and shrubs. The nest is an open cup made of small twigs and bark. It is bulky, with a soft lining that is typically made of feathers or animal fur.

 A young fledgling, approximately one week out of the nest (Photo Credit: Larry Kirtley)

A young fledgling, approximately one week out of the nest (Photo Credit: Larry Kirtley)

Females lay a clutch of 4 to 9 eggs, with an average clutch size of 5 or 6 eggs. The female alone incubates these eggs — a process that lasts 15 to 17 days. After the eggs hatch, the female will often brood nestlings for the first 4 or 5 days. During incubation and brooding, the male supplies food. Nestlings remain in the nest for an average of 17 days, but sometimes even up to 20 days.

After leaving the nest, the young usually remain quiet and hidden in heavily foliated trees for the first few days. Often, they can be located only by the loud begging calls they make when a parent arrives with food. When they are around 20 days old, young will start to practice their "impaling", using leaves or other objects - a practice they will continue to learn from their parents over the next couple weeks.  At about 40 days after hatching, the young can fly well and hunt on their own, at which point they become independent from their parents.