Monday, 11 April 2011

Pied Butcher

As with many avian hunters, the Pied Butcher-birds Cracticus nigrogularis like to use the power lines as a vantage point to spot their prey, lizards, small birds, frogs, grasshoppers and other insects. Another hunting technique is to follow you when you are on the mower or tractor cutting grass or burning off a paddock, then they pounce on any likely prey that is flushed out. They get their name from their habit of wedging their larger prey in the fork of a tree branch to assist the dismemberment, but they do not store their food like "Old World" shrikes, which are often referred to as butcher-birds. Two species of Butcher-birds are widespread through Australia and both are regular visitors on our property. They are renowned for their beautiful musical calls with fluting warbles and trills.    

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