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
. [1913 Webster
" The ant shrikes, or bush shrikes, are clamatorial birds of the family Formicaridæ. The cuckoo shrikes of the East Indies and Australia are Oscines of the family Campephagidæ. The drongo shrikes of the same regions belong to the related family Dicruridæ. See Drongo."