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The Grey Shrike-thrush is a rather drab coloured bird, although the 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. Adult males are browner on the mantle than the female and young birds have varying amounts of rufous on the cheeks and wings.