Mimicry by Grey Butcherbird and others (was GreyButcherbird mimicry)

To: <>
Subject: Mimicry by Grey Butcherbird and others (was GreyButcherbird mimicry)
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 2010 16:50:01 +1000
Greg Clancy (2 Apr 2010) wrote:

> In this note I describe hearing an Olive-backed Oriole at Iluka, north coast
> NSW, mimicking the calls of at least 13 other bird species.  They were the
> Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Grey Butcherbird, ...

The only occasion I have encountered of a mimicked species reacting to
mimicry was Olive-backed Oriole/Grey Butcherbird.

This was on 12 Dec 1973, in a Pinus taeda plantation about 70 km north of
Brisbane.  The plantation was 40+ years old with much regrowth of native
plant species, hence the abundance of native birds, including a family of
Whipbirds which must have nested there.

The Oriole was warbling away in what I regarded as subsong, and was so
unwise as to include periodically mimicry of a Grey Butcherbird call that I
think was a threat or attack call ... and it was chased through the forest
by a real G. Bb, with snapping beak!

My best guess is that the Bb was not for a moment deceived into thinking
that the mimicked sounds were an actual butcherbird, but rather that it
simply objected to the Oriole using that threat call.




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