"Being an artist isn’t just a “right brain” activity---you must use ALL of your brain, body and spirit to create. When the creation is done, the whole is much more than the sum of its parts… and so is the creator." - Lyrae Perry

Unusual Playmates – Pied Butcherbird & a Dog

Unusual Playmates:  Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis and a Dog!

When you pair the word “bird” with “Australia” in a sentence, most people immediately think of cockatiels, cockatoos and Kookaburras.   Very few people outside of Australia are familiar with Pied Butcherbirds, but they’re regular backyard visitors in Queensland and much of the Australian continent.  I first learned about Butcherbirds when I stayed with my friends Stewart and Sue Williamson.  While we were having coffee and scones one morning, I heard a distinct and  pretty bird song and rushed out to the back yard to see what the bird looked like that was singing it’s heart out.  I expected a small songbird, and instead found a rather large black and white bird that looked like a magpie.

male Pied Butcherbird

male Pied Butcherbird

Behavior of Butcherbirds is very similar to the 120 species of Corvids, (magpies, jays, ravens, crows, jackdaws, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers).  Corvids are considered the smartest of all bird species, and among the most intelligent of all animals. European magpies have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests, and a high degree of tool making ability.  I think playing is another of those behaviors that can be an indicator of intelligence.  Yes, I know what you’re going to say….nearly all baby animals play to train for adulthood—and I agree.  But the Butcherbird in the video I’m sharing today is an adult…so there’s more going on here than a couple of “dummy kids” playing with each other.

One of my family members shared the really cute video of these unusual playmates.  I know you’ll enjoy watching them play as much as I did.  I think you’ll agree with me that Pied Butcherbirds should be ranking the same in intelligence ranges as the Corvids.

This species is one of hundreds we’ll be seeing and hearing in Eastern Australia.
Click on the link below to see an amazing video of a Pied Butcherbird and a fluffy little dog playing together:


More info from Wikipedia on Pied Butcherbirds:
“Song melodies vary across the continent and no single song is sung by the whole population. There is no clear demarcation between simple calls and elaborate songs, and duets are common.[13] The species improvises extensively in creating new and complex melodies.[14] One of its calls has been likened to the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.[11]”


Here’s a short audio/video of the bird singing softly and preening:


You will be blown away by the variety of birds we can enjoy watching, photographing and painting on the 2015 trip to Australia, and of course, Butcherbirds will be on the list.

Do you agree that Pied Butcherbirds are as intelligent as Corvids?

Have a great week!



  1. Lyrae Perry says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words about the blog post and the website! I really appreciate it that you took the time to look and comment. Are you an artist? Or was it the animal story you found most appealing?

  2. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning
    this write-up plus the rest of the website is very good.

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