Jeff Wendorff's bird photography portfolio of shrikes
from the family, Laniidae Shrike WikiShrikes
are carnivorous passerine birds of the family Laniidae. The family is composed of thirty-one species in four genera. They are fairly closely related to the bush-shrike family Malaconotidae.
The family name, and that of the largest genus, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for "butcher", and some shrikes
are also known as "butcher birds" because of their feeding habits. The common English name "shrike" is from Old English scríc , "shriek", referring to the shrill call.
Most shrike species have a Eurasian and African distribution, with just two breeding in North America (the loggerhead and great grey shrikes). There are no members of this family in South America or Australia, although one species reaches New Guinea. The shrikes
vary in the extent of their ranges, with some species like the great grey shrike ranging across the Northern Hemisphere to the Newton's fiscal which is restricted to the island of São Tomé.
They inhabit open habitats, especially steppe and savannah. A few species of shrike
are forest dwellers, seldom occurring in open habitats. Some species breed in northern latitudes during the summer, then migrate to warmer climes for the winter. Shrikes
are medium-sized birds, up to 50 centimetres (20 in) in length, with grey, brown, or black and white plumage. Their beaks are hooked, like that of a bird of prey, reflecting their predatory nature, and their calls are strident.