The family Laniidae includes 3 species found in North America.
Shrikes occur in Africa, Eurasia and North America. The bill is heavy and hooked. Feet and claws are strong. The plumage is mainly black, gray and white, some with rufous areas. In most species the females are duller, but similar to the males in plumage.
Food is mainly insects, other arthropods and small vertebrates. They forage in open woodland, forest edge and often from wires, dropping from the perch to capture prey on the ground. Some species take insects on the wing, others search in the leaf litter. Most Northern Hemisphere species of Lanius impale some prey on thorns, sharp twigs or the barbs of barbed wire fences, hence the nickname "Butcherbird".
The nests are cups of twigs, tendrils and other materials, lined with wool, hair grass or feathers placed in a tree. Eggs 2-6 in the tropics and subtropics, 5-7 or more in high latitudes. They are white or variously colored with darker markings. Some species are communal breeders. Incubation is 15-18 days with fledging at 12-20 days.
The populations of most species of Shrikes have been declining for years, apparently related to human land-use practices including the excessive use of insecticides which destroy the insect species preyed upon by shrikes. Habitat alteration is caused by farming methods which reduces the number of hunting perches and nest sites.
Shrikes- Patuxent Bird ID Center
Don Roberson's Bird Families of the World