Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Pied Butcherbird (Juvenile)

Cracticus nigrogularis


The Pied Butcherbird is a medium-sized songbird native to Australia. It grows about 35 cm (14 in) long and has black and white plumage. Both sexes have identical plumage, but the male is slightly larger than the female. Young Pied Butcherbirds are generally duller than the adults are. These birds are common in woodland areas and urban environments. They are more often heard than seen, as they sings from a prominent perch... and their songs are varied and beautiful. All Butcherbirds are aggressive feeders. Pied Butcherbirds prey on small reptiles, mammals, frogs and birds, as well as large insects. Most food is caught on the ground. The birds sit on an exposed perch and swoop down on their prey. Hunting groups may consist of several birds from a large group, which may comprise three or four adults and several young birds, but birds may also hunt alone or in pairs. They are also more than willing to accept food from humans.


The Pied Butcherbird is found across much of Australia, except the far south and Tasmania. It is a bird of open woodlands and scrublands, but avoids the most arid environments. It is very common in urban areas. These photos were taken in my local park in Brisbane.


The bird on the sprinkler is a young bird, not yet fully matured, unlike the mature adult shown in the second photo. (Don't worry - the young bird on its side in this photo was playing). If the water sprinklers are on in the park, rest assured the Butcherbirds won't be far off. They love the water, as do most native birds. This photo was taken by my friend Nathan Faldt. He has the patience and ability to crawl around on his hands and knees for hours to get an interesting photo. I also found the video on YouTube of the Butcherbird's song. Worth a listen.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


naross 10 years ago

It's a high-pressure sprinkler used to water the parks. There's no way it would be perched there if it was turned on. It would blast him to pieces, but the birds usually gather around the perimeter of the spray.

Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 10 years ago

what was this bird standing on?

naross 10 years ago

I'd go along with that. Cockatoos are the worst. Beautiful, loud, and they can be very destructive. Lorikeets aren't too bad but there's usually more of them. All sounds are very familiar and I'm just used to all the noise.

DanielePralong 10 years ago

My rough (and probably wrong) rule with Australian birds: the more plain looking, the more beautiful the song. The show-offs are all horrible screechers (cockatoos, lorikeets, etc...) :-)

naross 10 years ago

Thanks, Daniele. Apparently each mated pair has their own song. One starts off and the other finishes. I have a few pairs that visit regularly and have been doing so for a few years. I recognise a few of them now from their songs. The group chorus is different again. Butcherbirds and Magpies are the two birds who's songs draw me to the Australian bush. I love them.

DanielePralong 10 years ago

Love the video! These just have the most beautiful song.

naross 10 years ago

They were wrestling. Butcherbirds and Magpies are very playful. The one on the left was a juvenile, and on the right, not too sure. Perhaps an older sibling or parent? When the older bird flew off, the young one player with a stick for a few minutes. I've seen magpies wrestle with a tennis ball, and others rolling down a hill much the same way young children do. Smart birds who know when to have some fun :-)

Maria dB
Maria dB 10 years ago

Interesting spotting; could you perhaps describe what is happening in the second photo?

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Mar 31, 2009
Submitted on May 4, 2013

Related Spottings

Hooded butcherbird Australian Magpie Magpie Australian Magpie

Nearby Spottings

Pacific Baza Straw-necked Ibis Australian Cypress sp. Eastern Bearded Dragon
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team