Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: On the 1982 Blue List for declining species as a species of concern (mostly in the East); common in parts of the West.
HABITAT: Inhabits open country with scattered shrubs or small trees such as shelterbelts, cemeteries, farmsteads, or hedgerows in the plains country and Midwest. In the West, breeds in savannah, pine-oak woodlands, and chapparal types, and prefers very open stands.
NEST: Builds a bulky, cup-shaped nest in a variety of shrubs and low, dense trees, rarely less than 3 feet or more than 25 feet above the ground. Hides the nest well below the crown of the bush or tree.
FOOD: Sometimes hawks for aerial insects, but takes most of its prey as it dives to the ground from an elevated perch. In the West, eats about 83 percent insects; in the East, 68 percent. Eats mostly grasshoppers and crickets, but also a variety of other insects, small mammals, birds, and reptiles.
REFERENCES: Beal and McAtee 1912, Eckert in Farrand 1983c, Johnsgard 1979, Kridelbaugh 1983, Miller 1931, Morrison 1981, Porter et al. 1975, Tate and Tate 1982.