Family Woodswallows and Butcherbirds (Artamidae)

Least Concern

Black-backed Butcherbird (Cracticus mentalis)


French: Cassican à dos noir German: Schwarzrücken-Krähenstar Spanish: Verdugo dorsinegro

Cracticus mentalis

Salvadori and D’Albertis

, 1876,

south-east New Guinea


See C. torquatus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. mentalis Salvadori & D’Albertis, 1876 – S New Guinea in S Trans-Fly region (Merauke E to Balimo) and SE Peninsula (Hall Sound E to Kupiano and inland to Sogeri Plateau).
  • C. m. kempi Mathews, 1912 – Cape York Peninsula, in NE Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–28 cm; c. 74–100 g. Small white-throated pied butcherbird with hook-tipped strong bill. Nominate race has top and side of head and neck black, sharply demar... read more


    Not well known. Song described as unhurried phrases of long and short, mellow ringing notes at low... read more


    Tropical savanna woodlands and open forest, generally dominated by eucalypts (Eucalyptus... read more

    Food and feeding

    Chiefly insects, with small vertebrates (e.g. lizards), some seeds. In New Guinea, recorded as killing a Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus... read more


    Not well known; most information from New Guinea (nominate race). Territorial; present in territory all year. Laying Aug–Apr, from... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rather uncommon to locally common, and restricted in distribution. The common butcherbird of Port Moresby, in SE New Guinea. Reported density near... read more

    Recommended citation

    Russell, E., Rowley, I. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Black-backed Butcherbird (Cracticus mentalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).