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.
- 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.
Words that rhyme with shrikealike, bike, haik, hike, like, mic, mike, mislike, pike, psych, psyche, spike, strike, trike, tyke, Van Dyck, vandyke
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: shrike
Definition of shrike in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.