are butcher birds related to kookaburras

Description edit

Large songbirds, butcherbirds range in length from 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in). Depending on the species, their colors can vary from black and white to primarily black with additional grey feathers. They skewer prey with their large, straight bill, which has a characteristic hook at the end. They defend their nearly year-round group territories with their high-pitched, complex songs; in contrast to birds of extratropical Eurasia and the Americas, both sexes sing a lot. [1].

Breeding edit

In a clutch, female butcherbirds lay two to five eggs[2], with more open-country species having larger clutch sizes. With the exception of hooded and black butcherbirds, which live in rainforests, cooperative breeding takes place, with many individuals delaying dispersal to raise offspring. [4] High up in a tree fork, a twig nest is constructed. The young will stay with their mother until they are nearly adulthood. They frequently follow their mother and “squeak” nonstop as she gathers food for them.

Taxonomy edit

Butcherbirds and the Australian magpie, along with two peltop species and three species of currawong, comprise the subfamily Cracticinae within the Artamidae family. (This family of birds is not closely related to European magpies, which belong to the family Corvidae, despite the name of the Australian magpie. ).

Feeding and distribution edit

Although their primary food source is insects, butcherbirds can also consume small lizards and other vertebrates. Their propensity to impale captured prey on thorns, tree forks, or crevices is how they got their name. This “larder” is employed to draw in mates, store prey for later use, or support the victim while it is being eaten.

Although shrikes and butcherbirds are not closely related, butcherbirds are the ecological counterparts of shrikes, which are primarily found in Eurasia and Africa. Shrikes are also occasionally referred to as “butcherbirds.” Butcherbirds inhabit a range of environments, including dry shrublands and tropical rainforests. They have successfully adapted to urbanization, like many other similar species, and are found in Australia’s lush suburbs. They are sly, displaying no fear and accepting food offerings to the extent of being somewhat tame.