Black Butcherbird

Black Butcherbird perched on a thin branch

What does it look and sound like? The Black Butcherbird is almost entirely deep bluish-black, except for the large silver-grey bill with a black tip.

Where does it live? The species has a large range. Three of the four recognised subspecies are found in Australia, with Melloria quoyi spaldingi found from western NT to the Gulf of Carpentaria, M. q. jardini in northern Qld, from Cape York Peninsula to Cooktown, and M. q. rufescens from Cooktown to around Mackay Qld. The species is also found in PNG and Indonesia.

What are its habitats and habits? The Black Butcherbird inhabits rainforests and mangroves, including adjacent parkland and urban gardens, where it It is diurnal and largely sedentary, with pairs occupying permanent territories. Breeding takes place early in the wet season and both sexes perform nest-building and incubation duties and both feed the young. Food consists of lizards, small birds and their eggs, mammals, crustaceans and insects, but it will also scavenge. The common name of butcherbird is derived from the habit of storing prey by impaling it on a sharp thorn or broken branch.

Scientific name: Melloria quoyi

Size: up to 45 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store