Any one of numerous species of oscinine birds of the family Laniidæ, having a strong hooked bill, toothed at the tip. Most shrikes are insectivorous, but the common European gray shrike (Lanius excubitor), the great northern shrike (L. borealis), and several others, kill mice, small birds, etc., and often impale them on thorns, and are, on that account called also butcher birds. See under Butcher.
(Family: Laniidae) Medium-sized predatory songbirds with hooked bills similar to birds of prey. They live in open areas and on the edges of forests. Many shrikes impale their prey on thorns. They are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.