butcherbird

butcherbird

[booch-er-burd]
noun
1.
any of various shrikes of the genus Lanius, which impale their prey upon thorns.
2.
any of several large, carnivorous birds of the genus Cracticus, of Australia and New Guinea, having shrikelike habits.

Origin:
1660–70; butcher + bird

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World English Dictionary
butcherbird (ˈbʊtʃəˌbɜːd)
 
n
1.  a shrike, esp one of the genus Lanius
2.  any of several Australian magpies of the genus Cracticus that impale their prey on thorns

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

butcherbird

in general, any bird that impales its prey (small vertebrates, large insects) on a thorn or wedges it into a crack or a forked twig in order to tear it or, sometimes, to store it. The name is given to the Lanius species (see shrike) of the family Laniidae and in Australia to the four to seven species of Cracticus; these are contrastingly patterned (usually black-gray-white) members of the family Cracticidae (order Passeriformes). Cracticus species are stocky, about 28 cm (11 inches) long, with big feet and heavy, hook-tipped bills. Year-round, pairs defend their territory-they may attack humans-and sing beautiful duets. A familiar species is the gray butcherbird (C. torquatus).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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