The Pied Butcher Bird is a black hooded Butcher Bird with a superb song. It has a hook on the end of its beak. It is similar to the Black backed Butcher Bird but it has a white throat and white collar that is broken at the nape.
The Pied Butcher Bird is best heard at dawn during the breeding season or on still, moonlit nights. The sound combines the the slow, rich, deep, mellow quality of Butcher Birds with the flowing carolling of the Australian Magpie in fluted, far-carrying notes that seem to reflect the loneliness of its outback haunts. their cries are often answered by others, near or distant, in duet or following in sequence., with notes that switch abruptly from high and clear to deep and mellow, but which always seem perfectly chosen.
Pied Butcher Birds are found on the Australian mainland except coastal, southern New South Wales,
Victoria, southern South Australia, and south-west Western Australia. Pied Butcher Birds live in open country, woodlands, semi-arid acacia scrub, grasslands, parks, gardens, farms and roadside trees. They do not live in heavily timbered areas and have benefited from forest clearing. It does not stray too far from its territory or leave with the Seasons.
The Pied Butcher Bird hunts from bare limbs, poles or wires. It is often seen along roads as it dives down to take its prey that includes small reptiles, grubs (insect larvae), worms, insects especially moths, beetles, and
grasshoppers, rodents, ground birds, all usually taken at first strike and flower petals, fruits. It sits and waits on a branch until a food items appear or forages in air, from tree trunks or on the ground. Once on the ground though, the Butcher Bird's short legs limit fast pursuit. It is mainly carnivorous (a meat eater) but also consume small quantities of vegetable material. It is called a "Butcher Bird" large food items are wedged between two branches and torn apart or "butchered" using the hooked beak.
Breeding: Pied Butcher Birds breed from August to December and only breed once a year. The nest is an open, bowl of sticks and twigs lined with grass and they build a new nest each year, usually in a different tree. The nest is built by the dominant female of the group but sometimes another female will have on too. Additional nests are built by others but are not used, maybe they are practising. The nest is built in an upright fork, 5-15 m up, with overhanging branches for shade and out towards the edge of the foliage. They live in small family parties of about 6 to 10. The brownish immature birds help feed the following years nestlings. It will defend its nest and recently fledged young vigorously. The young birds leave the nest at about 4 weeks.
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