Shrike, the common name of a family of birds found in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, There are about 70 species. Shrikes are small birds of prey with large heads and strong, hooked bills. Their plumage is usually a combination of gray and black. Shrikes have a melodious warbling song, which they often interrupt with sharp cries or shrieks. They feed chiefly on insects, mice, and smaller birds. Shrikes are. often called butcherbirds because they impale their prey on sharp twigs, thorns, or barbed wire much as a butcher hangs meat on a hook. The shrike builds a cup-shaped nest of twigs, grasses, and moss in a bush or a tree. The female lays two to eight eggs.

The two North American species are the northern shrike and the loggerhead shrike. The average length of the northern shrike is 10 inches (25 cm); of the loggerhead shrike, 9 inches (23 cm). Birds of both species are gray with black-and-white wing and tail feathers and broad black bands on either side of the head.

Shrikes make up the family Laniidae. The northern shrike is Lanius borealis; the loggerhead shrike, L. ludovicianus.