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Grey Shrike-thrush

A Grey Shrikethrush with a cricket in its bill

Adult (NSW)

Grey Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica) chicks in a nest within a terracotta pot

Nestlings in flowerpot in a garden shed

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Scientific Name: Colluricincla harmonica 

Size: 22.5 to 25 cm

What does it look and sound like?

The Grey Shrike-thrush is a common and familiar bird.  Its alternate names of Harmonious Shrike-thrush and Whistling Shrike-thrush, have stemmed from its beautiful whistling song, which typically include phrases such as “pip-pip-pip—pip-hoee” and a sharp “yorrick”, but also include phrases that are often unique to the individual birds. The song somehow makes up for the rather drab plumage.  This plumage varies throughout its extensive range.  Birds are mostly grey in the east, with an olive-grey back, and pale grey-white cheeks and underparts.  In the north, the plumage is predominantly brown, and western birds are grey with buff underparts. 

Where is it found?

It ranges throughout Australia. 

What are its habitats & habits?

Grey Shrike-thrushes inhabit a variety of wooded areas. Pairs generally remain together for life and inhabit the same areas throughout this time. Breeding territories of up to ten hectares are maintained.  Both birds share the nest-building and incubation duties, and both care for the three to four young birds. The Grey Shrike-thrush has a varied diet.  Its menu contains insects, spiders, small mammals, frogs and lizards, and birds’ eggs and young.  Birds may even be observed feeding on carrion. 

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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