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Magpie-Shrikes: Cracticidae

Behavior And Reproduction

All five groups make loud flutings, gargles, and bell-like whistles, except for peltopses that make "tick" or "tinckle" sounds. Magpie-shrikes roost in medium-height tree foliage. Australian magpies sing together in groups, and currawongs call out and answer back while in flocks. Australian magpies and currawongs roost in loose groups.

Butcherbirds, bristleheads, and peltopses live in trees, perching for long time periods while looking for prey, and fly rapidly and directly between trees. They pounce on prey, coming to the ground only to catch food. These birds remain in one large foraging territory throughout the year and are solitary birds, rarely gathering in groups larger than families. Australian magpies feed mostly from the ground. They are social birds with complex social organizations that include senior pairs or small breeding groups in permanent desirable territories, while larger groups of juveniles and other non-breeders live in less desirable territories. Australian magpies walk quietly on the ground and fly swiftly and directly. Currawongs are sometimes social throughout the year in some species, but in other species only gather in large wandering groups when not breeding. They live in all forest levels, fly in easy, wavy movements, and hop and run on the ground.

Breeding for all groups occurs irregularly throughout the year in tropical areas but only from early spring to summer (August to January) in temperate and subtropical regions. More than one brood (young birds born and raised together) can be raised in a year, but usually only one. Most species are monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; having one mate), except for the polygynous (puh-LIJ-uh-nus; having several mates) Australian magpies. They are territorial birds. Only females build nests, which are rough cups of twigs and rootlets lined with finer fibers. The female does all of the incubating (sitting on eggs) while the male takes care of his nesting mate. Clutches (eggs hatched together) are one to five eggs that are cream or pinkish buff to pale green, lined or spotted with red-browns and gray-blacks.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsMagpie-Shrikes: Cracticidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Bornean Bristlehead (pityriasis Gymnocephala): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, MAGPIE-SHRIKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS