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a genus of birds of the family Laniidae of the order Passeriformes. The head is large, the bill is hooked and toothed at the tip, and the tail is long. The plumage is loose, mostly gray in combination with white, black, and, less frequently, rust. The sexes are unlike in coloration.
There are 23 species, which are found in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America. Ten species occur in the USSR. The most common are the great gray shrike (Lanius excubitor), red-backed shrike (L. collurio), brown shrike (L. cristatus), and the lesser gray shrike (L. minor). Lanius species shun unbroken forests, preferring forest tundra, forest edges, clearings, and steppes or deserts with thickets or occasional trees. The nest is placed in bushes, often thorny bushes, or in trees. A clutch contains four to six eggs. The diet consists of insects, rodents, and the nestlings of small birds. Some Lanius species store food by impaling it on twigs or thorns.