Black-masked bandit of open areas with some bushes and trees. Bold black, white, and gray pattern is distinctive; also note stout hooked bill. Usually seen singly or in pairs, often perched conspicuously on a treetop or utility wire. Fairly widespread in southern and western North America, but never abundant, and declining over much of range. Carnivorous habits make shrikes unique among passerines; they feed on rodents and small birds. Undulating flight; watch for white patches in the wings. May overlap with Northern Shrike in winter; Loggerhead is slightly smaller, darker, and lacks white around the eye.
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