Grey Butcherbird
Song & Calls

Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus)

The Grey Butcherbird (Cracticus torquatus) is a species of butcherbird found throughout much of the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It thrives in a variety of habitats including forests, woodlands, farmland and urban areas.

Although not as musical as the song of the closely related Pied Butcherbird, the vocalizations of Grey Butcherbirds include pleasant melodious song as well as a range of noisy cackling calls which sound a bit like maniacal laughter! Like other species of butcherbird, Grey Butcherbirds often sing duets as pairs.

In addition to their typical song, Grey Butcherbirds have a softer ‘whisper song’ or ‘subsong’ which often includes mimicry of other species. Based on my own observations, the subsong of butcherbirds is more likely to be heard in the middle of the day or early afternoon, especially in windy or rainy conditions.

Listen to Grey Butcherbird Sounds

The video below features typical song and calls of the Grey Butcherbird and was recorded in Carnarvon Gorge National Park, Queensland.

Grey Butcherbird – Typical song

 XC334454 This audio sample features typical song phrases from a Grey Butcherbird. Note there is also a Pied Butcherbird making the melodic whistles in the background! Recorded in Gluepot Reserve, South Australia. 


Grey Butcherbird – Cackling calls

XC141375 In this sample the typical cackling type calls can be heard. Recorded in Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia. 

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