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Pied Butcherbirds

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Pied Butcherbirds

According to my Simpson and Day Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 8th edition, Pied Butcherbirds should not live down here in NSW; but it seems to me that they actually do. Why? Because I can SEE them here and have taken photos of them, and I have NEVER been to QLD. Using other sources (the Internet) I can see that other people also say the Pied Butcherbird lives around here.

The Adult birds are black and white, while younger birds are brown and white. They look similar to the Magpie Lark and Grey Butcherbird, but can be told apart. A Magpie Lark has a white band running down the side of its face and neck, not a complete hood like the Pied Butcherbirds do, they are also smaller. And the Grey Butcherbird does not have a black “bib” (throat).

The Pied Butcherbird eats; insects, frogs, small mammals, reptiles and bits of bread and stuff we throw out the window for them and the other birds. Sometimes the family (up to about 10 birds) will hunt together, other times they hunt unaccompanied. I often see them hopping around on the grass occasionally darting their beaks at some unknown creature.

They breed only once a year, somewhere between August and December. The dominant female builds a nest, which she and sometimes the other females lay their eggs in. She sits while the “teenage” birds (last year’s babies) and other family members bring food for her. After hatching, the young birds stay in the nest for about four weeks.

The Pied Butcherbird has a very pretty call, which is also very hard to describe, my field guide says it is a, “Lovely, flute like warbling”.

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