/shruyk/, n.1. any of numerous predaceous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a strong, hooked, and toothed bill, feeding on insects and sometimes on small birds and other animals: the members of certain species impale their prey on thorns or suspend it from the branches of trees to tear it apart more easily, and are said to kill more than is necessary for them to eat.2. any of several other birds having similar bills, as the vanga shrikes.3. (cap.) Mil. a 10-foot (3-m), 400-pound (180-kg) U.S. air-to-ground missile designed to destroy missile batteries by homing in on their radar emissions.[1535-45; perh. continuing OE scric thrush; akin to ON skrikja to twitter; see SHRIEK]
* * *Any of about 64 species of solitary, predatory songbirds (family Laniidae), especially any of the 25 species of the genus Lanius.Shrikes kill insects, lizards, mice, and birds with their bill or may impale their prey on a thorn (earning them the name butcher bird). Most species are gray or brownish and have a harsh call; several Eurasian species have reddish or brown markings. The great gray shrike (L. excubitor), called northern shrike in Canada and the U.S., is about 10 in. (25 cm) long and has a black mask. The only other New World species is the similar but smaller loggerhead shrike (L. ludovicianus) of North America.
* * *▪ birdfamily name Laniidae, any of about 64 species of medium-sized predatory birds (order Passeriformes); in particular, any of the 25 species of the genus Lanius, constituting the subfamily of true shrikes, Laniinae. With their bills they can kill large insects, lizards, mice, and small birds. A shrike may impale its prey on a thorn, as on a meat hook; hence another name, butcherbird. True shrikes, solitary birds with harsh calls, are gray or brownish, often with black or white markings. The most widespread species is the great gray shrike (L. excubitor), called northern shrike in Canada and the United States, a 24-centimetre (9 1/2-inch) black-masked bird. The only other New World species is the similar but smaller loggerhead shrike (L. ludovicianus) of North America. Several Eurasian species have reddish or brown markings.Bush-shrikes (bush-shrike), 40 species of African birds composing the subfamily Malaconotinae, are about 16 to 20 cm (6 1/2 to 8 in.) long; they have brighter plumage and less raptorial bills than true shrikes, and they have long soft feathers on the rump. They are insect eaters that forage furtively in bushes. All have bright whistling calls. The many-coloured bush-shrike (Chlorophoneus multicolor) is noted for polymorphic variation in the colour of its underparts—a shade of red or yellow but sometimes black or white. The gorgeous, or four-coloured, bush-shrike (Telophorus quadricolor) is green above and golden below, with black-bordered red throat. Some authors equate the genus Chlorophoneus with Telophorus.Bell-shrikes or bellbirds, members of the African genus Laniarius, also of the bush-shrike group, often have names imitative of the males' notes: boubou and gonolek. They are about 20 cm (8 in.) long, plain-coloured, often with a slash of white on the wings. All black forms include the sooty boubou (L. leucorhynchus). Black and white, with red-tinged underparts, is the tropical boubou (L. aethiopicus). Black above and bright red below are the black-headed, or Abyssinian, gonolek (L. erythrogaster) and the Barbary shrike (L. barbarus).Helmet-shrikes, or woodshrikes, are any of about 10 African birds constituting the subfamily Prionopinae, sometimes separated as a family, Prionopidae (see helmet-shrike).
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