pied butcherbird ii

gary roberts

Joined December 2009

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the pied butcherbird is an australian native. i caught this guy in the woodland about 2km from my home.

nikon d5000 / tamron af70-300mm f/4-5.6 di ld / f/8 / 1/320 sec / iso-200

butcherbirds are magpie-like birds in the genus cracticus. they are native to australasia. their closest relatives are the australian magpie and the three species of currawong. together they form the subfamily cracticinae in the family artamidae which also contains the woodswallows

butcherbirds are mid-sized, typically growing up to 35cm in length, although the australian magpie is larger, at a maximum 43cm. their colour ranges from black-and-white to mostly black with added grey plumage, depending on the species. they have a large, straight bill with a distinctive hook at the end which is used to skewer prey. they have beautiful high-pitched songs of great subtlety

butcherbirds are insect eaters for the most part, but will also feed on small lizards and other meat. they get their name from their habit of impaling captured prey on a thorn, tree fork, or crevice. this “larder” is used to support the victim while it is being eaten, to store prey for later consumption, or to attract mates

butcherbirds are the ecological counterparts of the shrikes, which are unrelated but share the “larder” habit; shrikes are also sometimes called “butcherbirds”

female butcherbirds lay one or two eggs in a clutch. the young will remain with their mother until almost fully grown. they tend to trail behind their mother and “squeak” incessantly while she catches food for them

woodlands are the butcherbird’s natural habitat but, like many similar species, they have adapted well to urbanisation and can be found in leafy suburbs throughout australia. they are opportunistic and intelligent, showing little fear and readily taking food offerings to the point of becoming semi-tame, although this practice should not be encouraged. they will often reward these offerings with “thank you” songs. the birds will accept most kinds of scraps, but should only be given food suitable for insectivores such as mealworms and not, for example, bread

the above text courtesy of wikipedia. for more information on the pied butcherbird_, please click on this *"wikipedia":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PiedButcherbird* link

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