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butcher bird,

predatory songbird found in most parts of the world except Australia and South America. The plumage of the European and North American species is mostly gray, black, and white; the tail is long and rounded, and the wings are rather short. Some African species are brilliantly colored. The name butcher bird reflects its habit of impaling its prey—small birds and mammals and large insects—on a thorn or sharp twig before tearing it apart with its strong, tip-hooked beak. North American shrikes include the loggerhead, great gray or northern, and California shrikes. Shrikes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Laniidae.


An air-to-surface solid-fuel guided missile that homes in on enemy radar installations.


1. any songbird of the chiefly Old World family Laniidae, having a heavy hooked bill and feeding on smaller animals which they sometimes impale on thorns, barbed wire, etc.
2. any of various similar but unrelated birds, such as the cuckoo shrikes
3. shrike thrush or tit another name for thickhead (the bird)
References in periodicals archive ?
The true shrikes (Laniidae) of the world: Ecology, behavior and evolution.
2009) found that tail length and the extent of black on the outermost rectrices were the best predictors of sex in northern shrikes (Lanius excubitor) on the basis of their discriminant function analysis (DFA).
David Hutton posted on the West Midlands Bird Club site: "Red-backed shrike at Ladywalk
I also contacted other biologists studying shrikes across the country, and visited shrike sites in Virginia and Ontario.
Fitzpatrick, 42, of Rotherham, also admitted to the town's magistrates illegally selling four red-backed shrikes.
Key foraging habitat characteristics for shrikes are perch availability and vegetation structure surrounding perches.
Gone was the loggerhead shrike, a black-masked hunter dubbed the "butcher bird" for impaling buggy entrees on thorns.
The Lightning Shrikes, as seen through the eyes of narrator Conley King, a Choctaw Indian from Oklahoma, begins by telling of his upbringing and his exploits as an athlete--he starred at the University of Oklahoma and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals.
But Forestry Commission Wales conservation rangers spotted at least three great grey shrikes in the forest last month.
Top, an F/A-18-Hornet assigned to the VFA-94 Shrikes receives fuel from an S-3B Viking from the VS-29 Dragonfires over Afghanistan.
A SPELL of easterly winds has brought many scarce birds - wrynecks, red-backed shrikes, ortolan buntings and warblers - blown off course from Eastern Europe to Africa.