Pied Butcherbird - Cracticus nigrogularis
Australia has few finer songbirds than the Pied Butcherbird. We were delighted by its loud, pure whistling notes ringing through the still morning air during a recent stay in Maleny in Queensland. When in a dawn chorus with his cousin the grey butcherbird, a family of magpies, a flock of currawongs, and the occasional crack of a whipbird, the effect is pure magic.
They live in small family groups with the immature birds helping to raise their younger siblings before being roundly ejected from the group to find their own territory or mate.
Oh, and these birds aren't called butcherbirds for nothing. This charming songster rates with hawks as the terror of small birds. It feeds mainly by flying down from a perch and seizing its prey on the ground; although it's very capable of catching a ball of minced meat thrown to it on the wing! Because its feet are too small to hold down its prey effectively, the bird will wedge its catch into a tree fork or onto a thorn before dining - an action which earns it the name 'butcherbird'.
The Pied Butcherbird is distributed throughout mainland Australia except for the extreme southern coastlines.
This shot was captured handheld at a distance of about 20 metres - a tripod certainly would've been helpful ...
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e2 members - please click on the link to the larger version for a clearer view
Edit - oops, the lens used was a Canon 75-300mm.
Wildlife and nature
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