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Animals

Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

21 Grey Butcherbird Facts You Won't Forget

Grey butcherbird facts that you'll love reading about.

The grey butcherbird is a small bird similar to Pied Butcherbird. The description of this bird is grey, black, and white in color. Adult grey butcherbirds have a black head with crowns, grey backs, and faces—the length of the birds range from 10.6-11.8 in (0.26-0.32 m). The back of the coat is gray, while the neck is white. When compared to dark grey streaks, white streaks are found throughout the upper tail-coverts at the base of the tail. Black upper tails have narrow white tips at the ends. Black upper tails have narrow white tips at the ends. It has a hooked beak. White patches dominate the underparts of the wings, which are gray-colored. A dark brown color characterizes the eyes. Male and female birds have similar plumage, although females are naturally smaller. They are quite similar to pied butcherbirds. They are found in Australia. Areas like mid-eastern Queensland to southern Australia are dominated by these birds. They prefer habitats like denser forests, woodlands, and urban areas. The diet of this species includes insects, small, young birds, and chicks. Feeding is either done alone or in the family. After hunting, these birds store the uneaten food in the branch or tree fork of a tree. Breeding occurs in pair solitary during the spring, summer, and early winter. A grass nest is lined with other softer fibers. Incubation lasts 25 days after three to five eggs are laid by the female. It is marked as the Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of endangered species. The grey butcherbird song has a rollicking sound and makes small birds shiver in fear as they know they are the prey for these birds.

If you enjoy reading about the grey butcherbird, do check out interesting facts about the Hawaiian crow and little crow.

Grey Butcherbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a grey butcherbird?

The grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is a bird of the Artamidae family from Australia.

What class of animal does a grey butcherbird belong to?

The grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is a type of bird from the Cracticus genus.

How many grey butcherbirds are there in the world?

There is no estimate of the total number of these birds in the world. The distribution is limited to the suburbs of the cities in Australia like Queensland, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

Where does a grey butcherbird live?

The grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is native to Australia. They are found in the range from mid-eastern Queensland to southern Australia. Tasmania also is home to this species. It is easily spotted in the suburbs of Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. But they are absent from the deserts of central Australia and the monsoon tropics of northern Australia.

What is a grey butcherbird's habitat?

There are numerous habitats in which the grey butcherbird birds can be found, including eucalyptus and oak forests, acacia and mallee shrublands, tropical rainforests, riparian vegetation, and urban areas. Forests with more dense cover habitat are more common in inland areas.

Who do grey butcherbirds live with?

The grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is either found alone or in a small group of families.

How long does a grey butcherbird live?

The lifespan of the grey butcherbird range from 8-15 years. The oldest known bird of this species has lived for more than 19 years.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding occurs in pair solitary during the spring, summer, and early winter. Nesting occurs throughout the year for both sexes. The female lays three to five eggs and incubates them for 25 days. After hatching, her partner feeds the nestlings and fledglings. From sticks and twigs, the nest is shaped like a shallow bowl. Nests are lining with grass and other softer fibers. A nest is normally located just above ground level, the range within 393.7 in (10 m).

What is their conservation status?

The grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is marked as the Least Concern under the IUCN red list of endangered species. There is no potential harm or decline in this species population.

Grey Butcherbird Fun Facts

What do grey butcherbirds look like?

The adult grey butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is a small, grey, black, and white-colored bird. It weighs almost 0.2 lb (90 g), and the length range is 10.6-11.8 in (0.26-0.32 m). The adult grey butcherbird has a black head with a black-colored crown, gray back, and face. The legs and feet are dark-gray in color. The back is gray, with the neck in a thin white stripe. Across the upper tail-coverts at the base of the tail, white streaks are distributed throughout the upper body when compared with dark gray streaks. There are narrow white tips at the ends of the black upper tail. The wings are gray colored with white patches with white dominating the underparts. The eyes are dark brown in color. In plumage, both sexes are the same, but females are slightly smaller than males. The young grey butcherbird chicks look like adult birds, but the black spots are replaced by olive-brown spots, and the white portions have a buff wash. There is no obvious hook on the bill, and it is completely gray. They look similar to pied butcherbirds.

The grey butcherbird has a black-colored crown and gray back.

How cute are they?

The grey butcherbird is not referred to as a cute bird as they are very vicious in nature and are aggressive predators.

How do they communicate?

When the grey butcherbirds sing in a rollicking call, many small birds shiver in fear as they are because they understand that they are on the menu of the butcherbird.

How big is a grey butcherbird?

The grey butcherbird are a little smaller than the Pied butcherbird in size.

How fast can a grey butcherbird move?

The flying speed estimate of the grey butcherbirds are unknown, but this species seems to be very swift.

How much does a grey butcherbird weigh?

The grey butcherbird's weight is around 0.2 lb (90 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the different sexes of grey butcherbirds. They can be sometimes called male grey butcherbirds and female grey butcherbird. They are also known by their scientific name, which is Cracticus torquatus.

What would you call a baby grey butcherbird?

The grey butcherbird juvenile is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The diet of grey butcherbirds includes insects, invertebrates, and even small vertebrates. Grey butcherbirds hunt for small birds, wasps like common wasps, mice, caterpillars, beetles like the ground beetle, nestlings, garden skinks, and lizards. Sometimes they also eat fruits and seeds. They store the uneaten food in the branch or tree fork of a tree. Feeding takes place alone or with the family group.

Are they aggressive?

Yes, the grey butcherbird is quite aggressive in nature.  Often, this bird performs a duet on its beautiful, chirpy call, which causes many small birds to tremble in fear. Because small birds, their chicks, and their eggs are among the foods consumed by the grey butcherbird. Because of their gruesome feeding method, butcherbirds earned their name. You can tell it's a gray butcherbird by looking at its hooked beak. Their prey is hung from a branch or tree fork, and the meat is cut away, much like a butcher.

Would they make a good pet?

No, grey butcherbirds are not kept as a pet. But these birds are often seen visiting garden and park.

Did you know...

Grey butcherbirds often visit gardens, but they also frequent our streets, where they can feast on roadkill. The grey butcherbird does a really valuable service for us, even though it doesn't sound too enticing. Recyclites nutrients back into the soil, which helps keep our environment healthy. Just like any other bird, these grey butcherbirds also love playing with water. After wetting their feathers, they like to fluff themselves up.

There are three known subspecies of grey butcherbird. These are C. t. torquatus, C. t. cinereus, C. t. leucopterus is widespread; its distribution stretches in south-east Australia, the island of Tasmania, and from the west to the east coast of Australia. They can be found in dense forests, suburbs, urban habitats.

The grey butcherbird's call

The grey butcherbird song is a territorial music, a raucous song that mixes harsh elements and musical ones. Only one member can sing the song, but more often it is sung in a duet or by all members together. Antiphonal duets appear to be four birds singing at the same time, even when they are actually two. Singing is generally antiphonal and composed of more than one phase. A group member sings each phase successively, but there can be overlap between phases. Up to 15 minutes are sometimes spent on some songs. The interaction with group members from other territories is nonexistent during this period.

Why are they called butcherbirds?

Grey butcherbirds are called as such because of their eating behavior. When a prey is captured they, it is hanged on the tree fork and the meat is peeled away from the body with its brutal hook-tipped beak, just like a butcher. Also, grey butcherbirds are usually grey in color. Thus they get the name grey butcherbird.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these common raven facts and white-necked raven facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable grey butcherbird coloring pages.

Second image by John Robert McPherson.

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