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Rather large butcherbird with black head and throat, and strong bill slightly hooked at tip. Nominate race has head and neck down to upper breast black; mantle and back variable, black, mottled or largery white depending on amount of white edging on black feathers (possibly varies with age), rump and uppertail-coverts white; upperwing black; conspicuous white patch formed by variable amount of white on upperwing-coverts and tertials; tail black outer rectrices with white tips; underparts bellow upper breast white; iris dark brown or black; bill pale bluish-grey or milky blue, black tip; legs black. Sexes similar in plumage, male larger then female. Juvenile has black feathers of head, breast, back and wing-coverts tipped brown; bill grey. Race hercules is similar in plumage to nominate, but larger (wings 185 mm, nominate 170 mm).