General Description

Body plumage mainly grey, with olive-grey backs and grey-white cheeks and underparts. Wings and cheeks of juveniles are red-brown. Head to tail length of up to 25 cm. As their scientific name 'harmonica' suggests, they have a range of musical songs. Have a characteristic loud "pip-pip-pip-ho-ee" call that is commonly heard throughout its range.


Grey Shrike-thrushes are common but are heard much more frequently than they are seen. They have hundreds of melodious songs, and these can vary between regions. Grey Shrike-thrushes mate for life and defend the same breeding territory each year. These territories can be up to 10 hectares in size. Both males and females will build the nest, incubate the eggs and care for the chicks. They will forage for food on the ground amongst leaf litter and fallen logs, and on tree branches and trunks. Their diet includes spiders, insects, frogs, lizards and small mammals. They are also regular nest predators, eating eggs and chicks. They will also occasionally eat carrion, seeds and fruits. They are one of Australia's most widespread and distinctive songbirds.


New Guinea. Mainland Australia and Tasmania except extremely arid central regions.


Forests, woodlands, coastal scrubs and occasionally in parks and gardens.

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