A shrike is a passerine bird of the family Laniidae which is known for its habit of catching insects, small birds or mammals and impaling their bodies on thorns. This helps them to tear the flesh into smaller, more conveniently-sized fragments, and serves as a "larder" so that the shrike can return to the uneaten portions at a later time.
A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey, reflecting its predatory nature.
Most shrike species occur in Eurasia and Africa, but two breed in North America. There are no members of this family in South America or Australia.
Some shrikes are also known as "butcher birds" because of their habit of keeping corpses. Australasian butcherbirds are not shrikes, although they occupy a similar ecological niche.
Species of Laniidae
- Tiger Shrike, Lanius tigrinus
Bull-headed Shrike, Lanius bucephalus
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus
Brown Shrike, Lanius cristatus
Burmese Shrike, Lanius collurioides
Emin's Shrike, Lanius gubernator
Souza's Shrike, Lanius souzae
Bay-backed Shrike, Lanius vittatus
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Grey-backed Shrike Lanius tephronotus
Mountain Shrike or Grey-capped Shrike, Lanius validirostris
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus
Great Grey Shrike or Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
Chinese Grey Shrike, Lanius sphenocercus
Grey-backed Fiscal, Lanius excubitoroides
Long-tailed Fiscal, Lanius cabanisi
Taita Fiscal, Lanius dorsalis
Somali Fiscal, Lanius somalicus
Mackinnon's Shrike, Lanius mackinnoni
Common Fiscal, Lanius collaris
Newton's Fiscal, Lanius newtoni
Uhehe Shrike, Lanius marwitzi
Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator
Masked Shrike, Lanius nubicus
Yellow-billed Shrike, Corvinella corvina
Magpie Shrike, Corvinella melanoleuca
White-rumped Shrike, Eurocephalus rueppelli
White-crowned Shrike, Eurocephalus anguitimens
Other species, popularly called "shrikes," are in the families:
- Prionopidae, helmetshrikes.
Malaconotidae, puffback shrikes, bush shrikes, tchagras and boubous.
The Prionopidae and Malaconotidae are quite closely related to the Laniidae, and were formerly included in the shrike family. The cuckoo-shrikes are not closely related to the true shrikes.
- Shrike videos on the Internet Bird Collection