BIRDS of THE WORLD - An Online Bird Book


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
Image by: 1, 2, 4) Magnus Kjaergaard  3) David Cook
4) Juvenile

Butcherbird, Gray Cracticus torquatus Found: Australia
Image by: 1) Mike Young  2, 3)Charlie Westerinen - Swansea, Australia   3) Peripitus - Wilpena Pound, South Australia  4, 5) David Cook 
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) Jerry Oldenettel  2) 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, 2) David Cook   3) Tom Tarrant  4) Lance
3) Juvenile

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

Magpie, Australian   Cracticus tibicen  (formerly Gymnorhina tibicen Found: Australia
Image by: 1, 2) Dick Daniels  3) Arthur Chapman near Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia  4) Charlie Westinen - Tasmania

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
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Greg Miles

Peltops, Mountain  Peltops montanus  Found: New Guinea
Image by: 1) Marcel Holyoak

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
Image by: 1) Arthur Chapman - Dove Lake, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, Australia   2, 3) JJ Harrison - Tasmania, Australia

Currawong, Gray  Strepera versicolor  Found: Australasia
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Sidney, Australia  2) Nightboss54 - Canberra  3) David Cook - NSW

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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