Grey Butcherbird

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Grey Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus, Size 24-30cm. Sexes similar with black head, white throat and narrow white partial collar. Grey back and shoulders. Underparts light grey/white, finely hooked blue-grey bill, tipped black. Immature, upperparts dusky brown, underparts lighter brown/cream. Call is beautiful rich and varied, or strident shrieks in aggression or defence.

Feeding Habits

This is a carnivorous species, insects being its main food, but will also take small birds, nestlings, reptiles and mice, and also a few fruits and seeds. Large items are carried back to a perch, and wedged in a fork with the bill.


July- December. Nest is an untidy collection of twigs, smoothly lined with soft grass. The female incubates the eggs while the male brings her food. Both parents feed the young. Full plumage is not gained until the second year.

Places to Look

Open forest, farmlands, gardens and scrub or roadsides where there are sufficient trees for cover.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

Grey Butcherbird © Birdlife Townsville 2008

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