Grey Butcherbird mimicry

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Grey Butcherbird mimicry
From: "michael norris" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 2010 19:11:18 +1100
This is the same subject line as used by Margaret Cameron on 7 Mar 2007.

She wrote " HANZAB says mimicry by the Grey Butcherbird has been 'often
recorded'. Well, it hadn't been recorded often by me - in fact I don't think
I'd noticed it until yesterday ..... HANZAB quotes an instance of 6 species mimicked in one bout of
Whisper Song."

Me too! On a quick visit to Cheltenham Park in southern Melb metro on 31 March I was heard a Blackbird warbling beautifully but not very loudly about 7 metres up in a tree, and then calls from a Rainbow Lorikeet, a Noisy Miner, perhaps a Magpie, and others not identified. The singing was continuous for about 3 minutes until unfortunately I disturbed a Grey Butcherbird.

It was the most entrancing song that I have ever heard (and that includes Nightingales).

Margaret lists 13+ species she heard in 15 minutes in her Queensland garden, most or all of which were probably mimicry by the butcherbird.

The Reader's Digest book says this sort of song occurs after the breeding season. Why?!

Michael Norris
Bayside, Melbourne


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