Definition of butcherbird in English:
1A shrike (family Laniidae) that impales its prey on thorns.
- The butcher-bird is today's loggerhead shrike, found only rarely anywhere in Massachusetts now.
- Also known as the gray shrike, the great butcher-bird is known for securing its prey to thorns so that it can more easily tear it apart.
- Since the isabellinus group is morphologically and biologically intermediate between the other two groups. it would be more cautious today to combine all forms of butcher-birds into a single polytypic species.
2A crowlike predacious Australasian songbird, with a heavy hook-tipped bill. Compare with magpie (sense 2).
- Family Cracticidae: three genera, in particular Cracticus, and several species
- The adult Grey Butcherbird has a black crown and face and a grey back, with a thin white collar.
- The Pied Butcherbird is a medium-sized black and white bird (33cm - 37cm)
- The Pied Butcher Bird is a black hooded Butcher Bird with a superb song.
mid 17th century: from its habit of impaling its prey on thorns.