; class Aves, order Passeriformes)
A family of mainly black, grey, or brown and white birds which have a strong, hooked bill, well-developed rictal bristles, strong legs, and a long, narrow tail. They inhabit open areas and woodland edges, and feed on insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds, many species impaling their prey on thorns. Bushshrikes (six Tchagra species) of Africa often hunt on the ground by running. Lanius species (of which there are 65) feed from exposed perches, sometimes hovering to drop on their prey. Shrikes nest in bushes and trees. There are 12–13 genera, with 78–82 species, many migratory, found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and N. America. The helmetshrikes are often placed in a separate family, Prionopidae.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.