Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis Click to enlarge image
Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis Image: SG Lane
© SG Lane

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    nigrogularis
    Genus
    Cracticus
    Family
    Artamidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 38 cm.

A medium-sized black and white bird with a black hood, dark brown eye and a long, hooked, grey and black bill. It has a broad white collar around its neck, a black throat and black legs. The back is mostly black, with large patches of white on the wings and rump. Both sexes have identical plumage, but the male is slightly larger than the female. Juvenile birds are generally duller than the adults with more brown plumage instead of black.

Habitat

Drier forests and woodlands and often approaches parks and houses.

Distribution

Across Australia.



Feeding and diet

It is an aggressive feeder, preying on small reptiles, mammals, frogs and birds, as well as large insects. Most food is caught on the ground. The birds sit on an exposed perch and swoop down on their prey. Hunting groups may consist of several birds from a large group or may also hunt alone or in pairs.

Breeding behaviours

The breeding season varies throughout its large range. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs alone, and is fed by the male and other members of the group. The nest is a bowl of sticks and twigs, lined with grasses and other finer material. It is usually built in an upright tree fork up to 5 m above the ground. More than one female may lay eggs in the same nest. Often heard before it is seen, its song is a beautiful, melodious fluting, sometimes given in turn by several individuals.