• WordNet 3.6
    • n shrike any of numerous Old World birds having a strong hooked bill that feed on smaller animals
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Additional illustrations & photos:

shrike in bare branches shrike in bare branches

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Shrike (Zoöl) 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.☞ 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.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n shrike An obsolete form of shriek.
    • n shrike A dentirostral oscine passerine bird of the family Laniidæ, having a notably strong hooked and toothed bill, and of actively predaceous nature; a butcher-bird; a nine-killer; a Wood-chat. The species are very numerous, and are found in most parts of the world. The most characteristic habit of these birds—at least of those of the genus Lanius and of some allied genera—is to catch and kill more insects, small birds, and small quadrupeds than they devour at once, and to impale these victims on a thorn or sharp twig. The great gray or cinereous shrike of Europe is Lanius excubitor, of which the corresponding American species is the northern butcher-bird, L. borealis. The loggerhead shrike of the United States is L. ludovicianus. The red-backed shrike of Europe is Lanius or Enneoclonus callurio (see wood-chat). See cuts under butcherbird, Lanius, and Pachycephala.
    • n shrike One of many different birds that resemble shrikes, or were held to belong to the genus Lanius. This was a Linnean genus, of amplitude and elasticity, and all the birds that were put in it used to be recorded in the books as shrikes of some sort, whence many English phrase-names, now practically obsolete except in some hyphenated compounds. Among these birds were various thrushes, ant-thrushes of both worlds, flycatchers, starlings, etc. See phrases below, and bush-shrike, drongo-shrike, swallow-shrike, Artamidæ, Dicruridæ, and Thamnophilinæ.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Shrike shrīk a genus of passerine birds which prey on insects and small birds, impaling its prey on thorns—hence called the Butcher-bird.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Akin to Icel. skrīkja, a shrieker, the shrike, and E. shriek,; cf. AS. scrīc, a thrush. See Shriek (v. i.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Ice. skríkja; cf. Shriek.


In literature:

Long- tailed blue-crested shrike, etc.
"Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and TheNeighbouring Countries" by William Griffith
Red-backed shrike was her name, female was her sex, and from Africa had she come.
"The Way of the Wild" by F. St. Mars
The shrike is his worst enemy, the swift swoop of his cruel beak being always fatal in a flock of chickadees.
"Ways of Wood Folk" by William J. Long
Both the grey shrike and the wood-shrike begin nesting operations in February.
"A Bird Calendar for Northern India" by Douglas Dewar
They evidently had had experiences with hawks and shrikes.
"The Wit of a Duck and Other Papers" by John Burroughs
Cotton and feathers enter largely into the composition of the lining of a Shrike's nest.
"The Bird Study Book" by Thomas Gilbert Pearson
"The Young Voyageurs" by Mayne Reid
The shrike is said to catch mice, but it is not known to attack squirrels.
"Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers" by John Burroughs
It is no argument against this theory, that the shrike sometimes leaves these stores without returning to them.
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
At this moment, from a branch overhead, a hungry shrike dashed down.
"The Watchers of the Trails" by Charles G. D. Roberts
As they flew farther along the line of trees the shrike followed them as if bent on further captures.
"Bird Stories from Burroughs" by John Burroughs
Well, Tom Titmouse naturally thought the shrike had eaten Nancy's eggs, so he came to me and ordered me to arrest the robber.
"Policeman Bluejay" by L. Frank Baum
The shrike is a taciturn bird.
"Birds in the Bush" by Bradford Torrey
He saw a shrike pursue a chickadee, when the latter escaped by taking refuge in a small hole in a tree.
"Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 7" by Various
Could the most bloodthirsty shrike desire a more commodious larder?
"Upon The Tree-Tops" by Olive Thorne Miller
The shrikes are numerous here, and all have their special haunts, to which they annually return.
"The Hills and the Vale" by Richard Jefferies
Some finches flew overhead as if meaning to stop, but saw the shrike and went on.
"A-Birding on a Bronco" by Florence A. Merriam
The Shrike Robins belong to the Shrike family, so they need not be mentioned here.
"An Australian Bird Book" by John Albert Leach
These shrikes tend to be resident in southern counties, but are migratory in the north.
"The Breeding Birds of Kansas" by Richard F. Johnston
There are several species of Shrikes, the Thick-headed Shrike, the Great Shrike, and the Red-backed Shrike being among these.
"Natural History in Anecdote" by Various

In poetry:

Hawk or shrike has done this deed
Of downy feathers: rueful sight!
Sweet sentimentalist, invite
Your bosom's Power to intercede.
"Whimper Of Sympathy" by George Meredith

In news:

Forum member Joe Devine saw this Loggerhead Shrike on Merritt Island, Florida.
The shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) was perched along the Black Point Wildlife Drive, a seven-mile route at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The song birds include the Northern shrike, winter wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, golden-crowned kinglet, varied thrush, yellow-rumped warbler and sparrows.
After all, if you can give a shrike the name of loggerhead, why can't the powers that be do as well for these two woodpeckers .
National Pig Association of Britain says herds shriking, prices rising.
The Shrike and the Nomad are the latest hard-use knives from Al Mar.
Powerful 'Shrike' explores malicious mind games.
Lansing Community College revisits 'The Shrike'.

In science:

The analogue of the eigenspaces above are spectral subspaces for ∆ of shriking width w.
Random orthonormal bases of spaces of high dimension