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  1. 127 Photo by Chris Tate
  2. 127_0 Photo by Chris Tate

Pied Butcherbird

Cracticus nigrogularis


  • Colour: medium-sized black and white bird. It has a full black hood, dark brown eye and long, hooked, grey and black bill. It has a broad white collar that goes all around its neck and a black bib (throat area).
  • Size: 32- 36 cm.


  • Call: Superb, slow flute like mellow notes
  • Diet: 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.
  • Flight: Typically flight is low and swooping. The white back and tail corners contrast strongly with the mostly black tail.
  • Breeding: The breeding season of the Pied Butcherbird varies throughout its large range. The female constructs the nest and incubates the eggs alone, and is fed by the male and other members of the group. The nest is a bowl of sticks and twigs, lined with grasses and other finer material. It is usually built in an upright tree fork up to 5 m above the ground. More than one female may lay eggs in the same nest.

What to Observe

  • Courting/mating
  • Calling
  • Feeding
  • Bird on chicks
  • Bird on eggs
  • Bird on nest
  • Bird feeding young

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect birds to start breeding and singing earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

When To Look

Breeding occurs:

  • August to November in southern Australia,
  • May to June in the tropics

Where To Look

Found throughout the Australian mainland, with the exception of most of the southern and south-eastern coastline, and the more arid areas of the inland.

Pied Butcherbird compiled distribution map - BirdLife International

Pied Butcherbird compiled distribution map - BirdLife International

Where To Look

Maps of Habitat Suitability


Current probability
of occurrence
2070 probability
of occurrence (RCP 8.5)
Species range change from
current to 2070 probability

Above, the left and middle maps show the modelled habitat suitability for the the species under current and potential future climate conditions. The colours indicate the predicted habitat suitability from low (white) to high (dark red).

The future habitat suitability is modelled for the year 2070 under a climate change scenario that represents 'business as usual' (RCP 8.5). The map on the right shows how the range of the species might change between now and 2070, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, green areas where the species range might expand, and blue areas where the habitat is predicted to be suitable for the species now and in the future.

The models for this species were run in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Please note that while models can be very informative, they are only a representation of the real world and thus should always be viewed with caution. You can read more about the science behind these models here.



Nevill, S. J. 2008. Birds of the Greater South West. Simon Nevill Publications, Perth, Western Australia.

Nevill et al. 2005. Guide to the Wildlife of the Perth Region. Simon Nevill Publications, Perth, Western Australia.

  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    • The Pied Butcherbird is larger and more boldly marked than the Grey Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus, and can be separated from both this species and the Black-backed Butcherbird, C. mentalis, of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, by its black bib, which is lacking in those two species. 
    • It can be distinguished from other black and white birds, such as the Australian Magpie, Craticus tibicen, and the Magpie-lark, Grallina cyanoleuca, by the black head and bib separated from the black back by a complete white collar, and white underparts. The bill is much larger than that of the Magpie-lark.
  1. Did You Know?

    The call recording is by David Stewart Naturesound

  1. Listen to the Call