1A songbird with a strong sharply hooked bill, often impaling its prey of small birds, lizards, and insects on thorns. Also called butcher-bird.
- Family Laniidae: several genera and numerous species, especially in Africa, e.g. the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), of both Eurasia and North America
More example sentences
- Because their feet are not large or strong enough to hold prey, shrikes find a crotch in a tree, a thorn, or barbed wire to hang their prey on while they eat.
- The horned lizard Phrynosoma mcalli apparently uses the horns on its head to deter the shrike, a bird fond of impaling lizards on thorns or barbed wire for later consumption.
- Shrike babblers were originally described as shrikes, because of their hooked bill, but have been subsequently placed among babblers.
mid 16th century: perhaps related to Old English scrīc 'thrush' and Middle Low German schrīk 'corncrake', of imitative origin.
Definition of shrike in:
- The US English dictionary