I have a client that has 5 different gravatar images, and would like them to be randomly used as the thumbnail for people's comments that have no Gravatar. I know how to change the Gravatar to a custom one, but not display one of the five in the set randomly each time. I know it can be done, because Automattic does it, but I don't now where I could get a look at that code.

Does someone smarter than I know how this may be done?

//* Create a custom Gravatar
add_filter( 'avatar_defaults', 'sp_custom_gravatar' );
function sp_custom_gravatar ($avatar) {
    $custom_avatar = get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/images/gravatar.png';
    $avatar[$custom_avatar] = "Custom Gravatar";
    return $avatar;

Have a look at the Codex about "Using Gravatars". There you´ll find a part about "Checking for the Existence of a Gravatar" which works like this:

The trick to do this is to specify "404" as the default. In this case, the gravatar service will return a 404 error if no gravatar exists, instead of returning some default image. A real image will get a 200 code. It is best to check for 200, as some other errors might be returned as well, for other cases.

There is also a code snippet you can use for that check.

Then build something like this for your default avatars in single.php/comments.php or whatever you are using:

$default_avatars = array(
$my_default_avatar_now = array_rand($default_avatars);

echo '<img src="'.$my_default_avatar_now.'" class="avatar" />';

array_rand() seems to not have the best randomness from what you read in the comments on php.net but maybe it´s working fine for you.

This code is untested, so it´s more an explanation of the way you could go then a ready-to-use solution.

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