Butcherbird plumages

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Subject: Butcherbird plumages
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2019 00:36:01 +0000

You see (perhaps I should say I see) a lot of Grey Butcherbirds around that are much more greyish brown than the relatively crisp black, white and grey illustrations in the books.  The local male (left below) is close to what you might see in a book. The female on right is not very like what is given for adult female in ABG (Aust Bd Guide) and HANZAB.  It does have the larger, untidy ‘loral spot’ (compare male).   The colour is very like the first immature ( for torquatus subspecies) shown in HANZAB.  Except for the bill. The bill colour is the fully developed silver and black.  This female might be a second year bird. However it is a very efficient feeder of the young, being notably more industrious than the male.  I’m inclined to think GBBs retain brownish plumage for longer than the books say, at least in some individuals.  I also notice the female has more of a hooked bill than the male.  Female is more typical.  Male might have lost a tip.


A close up of a bird

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