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Grey Butcherbird

Scientific Name: Cracticus torquatus

Description: Butcherbirds look a bit like miniature kookaburras, with a similar shaped beak and body. The butcherbird does in fact have a very fine hook on the tip of the beak. The adult has a black head, grey back and black wingtips and tail. The underparts are a light grey and the upper body is grey. The face and top of the head are black with a white flash in front of the eye. Young birds have a brown head and back and the throat and underparts are a dirty fawn.

The Butcherbird’s name is derived from its habit of hanging its prey of small lizards, mice, or young birds on a forked branch. It may be a day or two before the butcherbird returns to eat the decaying meat. They feed on insects, reptiles, small rodents, and small birds. Larger prey catches are stored in tree forks, and later eaten. They have a lovely, rollicking song, with a flute like quality, which belies their aggressive and intimidating nature.

Type: Bird
Where to find: A range of wooded areas, including urban areas.
Size: 30cm