Cracticus tibicen tyrannica
A medium sized diurnal passerine member of Cracticidae about 40 cm. long. Native to Australia and southern New Guinea. Colour is black with white patches on back, under tail and beak. It has medium to long grey legs and brown eyes. This is a highly intelligent bird which spends a long time training it's young before sending them off to build their own home. They have a beautiful but complex range of warbles and often sound off in groups using very complex and lengthy passages. They omnivorous but sometimes selective with respect to diet. Extremely territorial at nesting time and will threaten any life form nearby. They have been known to kill people within their territory.
Australia wide. At least 9 sub-species. Introduced to NZ, Solomons, Fiji.
We have been occasionally feeding several generations of these birds in our area, mostly because of an extended 10 year drought, and have got to know them very well. We have noticed some amazing things about them (too many to list here) but even after not seeing older offspring for several years they may suddenly turn up and call us out. Their calls are incredibly complex I would find it very hard to believe that they are not communicating complex ideas to each other. An all-time favourite bird. Sorry about the poor photo... I needed to tidy the background in this. There are several subspecies divided generally into 'white backs' and black backs' . Here's a spotting of a 'black back' http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/372...