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BUTCHERBIRDs and ALLIES

Order Passeriformes Family Cracticidae

The cracticines have large, straight bills and mostly black, white or gray plumage. All are omnivorous to some degree: the butcherbirds mostly eat meat; Australian magpies usually forage through short grass looking for worms and other small creatures; and currawongs are true omnivores, taking fruit, grain, meat, insects, eggs and nestlings. The female constructs bulky nests from sticks, and both parents help incubate the eggs and raise the young thereafter. They are found in Australasian and nearby areas.


Genus Cracticus
Butcherbirds are large songbirds, being between 30 and 40 centimetres (12 and 16 in) in length. Their color ranges from black-and-white to mostly black with added gray 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 high-pitched complex songs, which are used to defend their essentially year-round group territories: unlike birds of extratropical Eurasia and the Americas, both sexes sing prolifically.Butcherbirds are insect eaters for the most part, but will also feed on small lizards and other vertebrates. They get their name from their habit of impaling captured prey on a thorn, tree fork, or crevice.

Butcherbird, Black Cracticus quoyi Found: Australia
The Black Butcherbird has black plumage; gray bill with black tip.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Magnus Kjaergaard 4) David Cook
1) Juvenile


Butcherbird,_Black-backed  Cracticus mentalis  Found: northern Australia and southern New Guinea
The Black-backed Butcherbird has black and white upperparts; black head; white throat, underparts.
Image by: 1) Katerina_Tvardikova  2) Mark_Harper - Papua New Guinea  2) Alex_Slavenko


Butcherbird,_Gray Cracticus torquatus Found: Australia
The Gray Butcherbird has mostly dark gray upperparts; black head; white underparts.
Image by: 1) Mike Young  2, 3)Charlie Westerinen - Swansea, Australia  4) Swee_Oon  5) Tatiana_Gerus  6) Geoff_Whalan
1) Juvenile



Butcherbird,_Hooded  Cracticus cassicus  Found: New Guinea
The Hooded Butcherbird has black head, nape, throat; white underparts, rump, back; black-and-white mantle; black tail with broad white tip; bluish-gray bill with black tip.
Image by: 1) Katerina_Tvardikova  2) Jerry Oldenettel  3) Lip Kee


Butcherbird,_Pied Cracticus nigrogularis   Found: Australia
The Pied Butcherbird has black and white plumage. Black head, nape, throat, upper-breast; white collar, lower-breast; black mantle, most of tail.
Image by: 1, 3) David Cook  2)Tony_Castro    3) Tom Tarrant  4) Lance  5) Vicki_Nunn  6) patrick kavanagh
1, 2) Juvenile



Butcherbird, Silver-backed  Cracticus argenteus  Found: Australia
Image by: 1, 2) Sunphilo


Magpie,_Australian   Cracticus tibicen  (formerly Gymnorhina tibicen Found: Australia
The Australian Magpie has black and white upperparts. Male has white hind-neck, mantle; female has white hind-neck transitioning to gray mantle.
Image by: 1) KeresH 2) Charlie Westinen   3, 4) Dick Daniels  5) Arthur Chapman near Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia  6) r0002/Flagstaffotos
1) Male left; female right   2) Female




Genus Peltops

Peltops are smaller than the butcherbirds, and have a less massive (but still large) bill than them. The Mountain Peltops is the larger species They both have hooked bills.

Peltops,_Lowland  Peltops blainvillii  Found: New Guinea
The Lowland Peltops has mainly glossy bluish-black plumage; white ear and nape patch; red rump, upper-tail base; thighs.
Image by: 1) Katerina_Tvardikova  2) John Gould  2) Greg Miles


Peltops,_Mountain  Peltops montanus  Found: New Guinea
Similar to Lowland Peltops but less red on it and found at higher elevations.
Image by: 1) Tvardikova  2) Marcel Holyoak  3) Nigel_Voaden




Genus Strepera
Currawongs are similar to Australian crows, magpies, and raves. They are easily distinguished by their yellow eyes, in contrast to the red eyes of a magpie and white eyes of Australian crows and ravens.

Currawong,_Black  Strepera fuliginosa  Found: Tasmania, Australia
The Black Currawong has mainly black plumage; some white visible in flight; heavy bill; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) Arthur Chapman - Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia   2, 3) JJ Harrison - Tasmania, Australia  4) PsJeremy


Currawong,_Gray  Strepera versicolor  Found: Australasia
The Gray Currawong has dark gray upperparts; lighter underparts; white under-tails; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Sidney, Australia  2) Nightboss54 - Canberra  3) David Cook - NSW  4) julie_burgher


Currawong, Pied  Strepera graculina   Found: Australia
The Pied Currawong has mainly black plumage; heavy black bill; yellow irises; white undertail bands; white wing patches.
Image by: 1) Alois Staudache  2, 3) Oystercatcher - New South Wales  4) D. Gordon Robertson  - New South Wales    5) Charlie Westerinen - Forester. Australia







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