Family

CHAPTER

phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Shrikes range in size from 5.7 to 19.6 inches (14.5 to 50 centimeters) and can weigh anywhere from 0.6 to 3.52 ounces (18 to 100 grams). They are predatory birds, living by feeding on other animals, and they usually have sharply hooked, raptor-like beaks and powerful legs. With so many species in the family, shrikes' coloring varies widely. Some are vividly colored in greens, reds, and yellows, such as the yellow-crowned gonolek and the gray-headed bush shrike, but many others are dramatically patterned with black masks and wing bars, showing pure white underneath and deep black, gray, or russet, a reddish brown, upperparts. The helmet shrikes are known for their bristly feathers on their forehead and, usually, colored wattles, fleshy folds of skin, around their eyes. Except for a few species, including the red-backed shrike, males and females of this family do not look very different. Young shrikes tend to be brown and have many wavy lines and patterns throughout their plumage, feathers.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Shrikes appear throughout the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, Russia, and New Guinea. Virtually all of the bush-shrike species live in Africa, while the helmet-shrikes and the true shrikes live in sub-Saharan Africa. Of the true shrikes, the loggerhead is the only species to occupy North America. The other species are more widespread.

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