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Grey Butcherbird

From Opus

Alternative names: Australian Butcherbird; Collared Butcherbird; White-winged Butcherbird; Collared Crow-Shrike; Clouded Shrike; Tasmanian Butcherbird (cinereus)

Male torquatusPhoto © by IanCWallis Lake, New South Wales, Australia, November 2006
Male torquatus
Photo © by IanC
Wallis Lake, New South Wales, Australia, November 2006
Cracticus torquatus


[edit] Identification

27 - 30cm. A medium-sized Butcherbird with a strong bill.

  • Black top and side of head
  • Bright white chin and throat
  • Broad white half-collar on each side from throat towards middle of hindneck
  • Prominent white spot on lores
FemalePhoto © by MuscatclarkWalligan Qld, Australia, June 2006
Photo © by Muscatclark
Walligan Qld, Australia, June 2006
  • Dark grey upperparts with some streaking and mottling
  • Narrow white band across rump (well visible in flight)
  • Black tail with narrow white tip
  • Mostly black upper-wing with narrow white stripe (innermost secondaries) and white patch (secondary coverts)
  • Whitish underwings
  • Off-white underparts with grey shading over breast

Females are smaller and have a similar plumage, sometimes browner than males. Juveniles are brown with buff streaks and a dark brown head.

[edit] Similar species

Silver-backed Butcherbird is similar but has black lores and a pale grey mantle.

[edit] Distribution

Found in south and east Australia including Tasmania.

Generally uncommon and patchily distributed. More common in Tasmania.

[edit] Taxonomy

ImmaturePhoto © by julienEagle Point, Victoria, Australia, July 2005
Photo © by julien
Eagle Point, Victoria, Australia, July 2005

[edit] Subspecies

Three subspecies recognized:

  • C. t. leucopterus:
  • Southern half of Australia (except desert areas of Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory and western half of Queensland), east to east Queensland towards southern parts of Cape York Peninsula
  • C. t. torquatus:
  • C. t. cinereus:

Silver-backed Butcherbird has been treated as conspecific with this species.

Forms a superspecies with Black-backed Butcherbird and Silver-backed Butcherbird and has sometimes been placed in genus Bulestes.

[edit] Habitat

Open forest, woodland, farmland and urban areas.

[edit] Behaviour

Photo © by bigbadjaNew South Wales, Australia, June 2003
Photo © by bigbadja
New South Wales, Australia, June 2003

[edit] Diet

Feeds mainly on insects but takes also small birds and nestlings, sometimes fruit, seeds and nectar.
Forages from a perch.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding mainly from August to January but has been recorded all year in response to rain in drier areas. Usually a solitary breeder, sometimes with helpers. The nest is a shallow, untidy bowl made of thing twigs and placed around 5 - 6m above the ground in a tree (usually eucalypt). Lays 3 - 4 eggs.

[edit] Movements

A territorial species, staying in its territory all year.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

[edit] External Links


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