Pied Currawong – Profile | Traits | Facts | Call | Diet | Breeding

Pied currawong

The pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina is a medium-sized black passerine bird native to eastern Australia and Lord Howe Island. One of three currawong species within the genus Strepera, it’s carefully associated with the butcherbirds and Australian magpie of the family Artamidae.

Pied currawong Profile

The Pied Currawong is big, largely blackbird, with a vibrant yellow eye. Small patches of white are confined to the under the tail, the ideas and bases of the tail feathers, and a small patch in the direction of the tip of every wing (seen in flight).

The bill is giant and black and the legs are darkish grey-black. Both sexes are comparable, though the feminine could generally be greyer on the underparts. Young Pied Currawongs are duller and browner than the adults.

Six subspecies are recognized. It is a strong crowlike bird averaging around 48 cm (19 in) in size, black or sooty grey-black in plumage with white undertail and wing patches, yellow irises, and a heavy bill.

The female and male are comparable in look. Known for its melodious calls, the species’ name currawong is believed to be of indigenous origin.

Within its range, the pied currawong is mostly sedentary, though populations at higher altitudes relocate to lower areas in the course of the cooler months.

It is omnivorous, with a diet that features all kinds of berries and seeds, invertebrates, bird eggs, juvenile birds, and younger marsupials.

It is a predator which has tailored effectively to urbanization and might be present in parks and gardens in addition to rural woodland. The habitat contains each sort of forested area, though mature forests are most well-liked for breeding.

Roosting, nesting and the majority of foraging happen in bushes, in distinction with the ground-foraging behavior of its relative, the Australian magpie.

pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina

Distribution and habitat

The pied currawong is common in each moist and dry sclerophyll forest, rural and semi-urban environments all through eastern Australia, from the Cape York Peninsula to western Victoria and Lord Howe Island, the place it happens as an endemic subspecies. It has more just lately developed into prevalent in South-East South Australia, in and around Mount Gambier.

It has tailored effectively to European presence and has developed into more common in many areas of eastern Australia, with surveys in Nanango, Queensland, Barham, New South Wales, Geelong, Victoria, in addition to the Northern Tablelands and South West Slopes areas in New South Wales, all exhibiting a rise in population.

This enhance has been most marked, nevertheless, in Sydney and Canberra for the reason that Forties and Sixties, respectively. In each city, the species had beforehand been a winter resident solely, however now stays year-round and breeds there. They are a dominant species and common inhabitant of Sydney gardens.

Pied Currawongs are discovered all through eastern Australia, from northern Queensland to Victoria, however, are absent from Tasmania.

The Pied Currawong prefers forests and woodlands and has developed into effectively tailored to suburban areas. Throughout its range, it’s common and acquainted.

Pied currawong Description

The pied currawong is mostly a blackbird with white within the wing, undertail coverts, the bottom of the tail, and most visibly, the tip of the tail. It has yellow eyes.

Adult birds are 44–50 cm (17–20 in) in size, with an average of around 48 cm (19 in); the wingspan varies from 56 to 77 cm (22 to 30 in), averaging around 69 cm (27 in).

Adult males average around 320 g (11 oz), females 280 g (10 oz). The wings are long and broad. The long and heavy bill is about one and a half occasions as long because the head and is hooked on the end.

Juvenile birds have comparable markings to adults however have softer and brownish plumage total, though the white band on the tail is narrower.

The upperparts are darker brown with scallops and streaks over the head and neck and the underparts lighter brown. The eyes are darkish brown and the bill darkish with a yellow tip.

The gape is a distinguished yellow. Older birds develop darker till adult plumage is achieved, however, juvenile tail markings solely change to adult late in improvement.

Birds seem to molt as soon as a year in late summertime after breeding. The pied currawong can live for over 20 years within the wild.

pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina


The Pied Currawong is big, largely blackbird, with a vibrant yellow eye. Small patches of white are confined to the under the tail, the ideas and bases of the tail feathers, and a small patch in the direction of the tip of every wing (seen in flight).

The bill is giant and black and the legs are darkish grey-black. Both sexes are comparable, though the feminine could generally be greyer on the underparts. Young Pied Currawongs are duller and browner than the adults.

Seasonal activities

Outside the breeding season giant flocks of Pied Currawongs kind, however, on most different occasions, these birds are seen alone, in pairs, or in family teams.

In the north of their range they have a tendency to remain within the same areas year-round, whereas, within the south, they could move from the higher areas to the lowlands, particularly within the colder areas.

Pied currawong Voice

Pied currawongs are vocal birds, calling when in flight and always of the day. They are noisier early within the morning and within the night before roosting, in addition to before rain.

The loud distinctive call has been translated as Kadow-Kadang or Curra-wong, akin to a croak. They even have a loud, high-pitched, wolf-like whistle, transcribed as Wheeo. The endemic Lord Howe Island subspecies has a definite, more melodious call.

pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina

Pied currawong Feeding

Pied Currawongs feed on quite a lot of meals together with small lizards, bugs, caterpillars, and berries. They additionally take a lot of small and younger birds, particularly around city areas the place appropriate cover is scarce.

Larger prey, as much as the size of a younger possum, can be taken, and birds will sometimes hunt as a bunch. Prey could also be saved in a ‘larder’ (held on a hook or in a tree fork or crevice) and both eaten immediately or, within the case of bigger prey, over a time period.

The pied currawong is an omnivorous and opportunistic feeder, consuming fruit and berries in addition to preying on many invertebrates, and smaller vertebrates, largely juvenile birds and bird eggs, though they could take healthy adult birds as much as the size of a Crested Pigeon every now and then.

Currawongs will hunt in bushes, snatching birds and eggs from nests, in addition to bugs and berries from bushes. They additionally hunt within the air and on the ground. Insects predominate within the diet throughout summer months, and fruit in the course of the winter.

They will typically scavenge, consuming scraps and garbage, and might be fairly daring when in search of meals from people, lingering around picnic areas and bird-feeding trays.

Beetles and ants are probably the most common varieties of bugs consumed. Pied currawongs have been recorded taking mice, in addition to chickens and turkeys from farms.

Birds forage singly or in pairs in summer, and more typically in bigger flocks in autumn and winter, throughout which period they’re more more likely to loiter around people and concrete areas.

They sometimes affiliate with Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) or common starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) when foraging.

pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina

Pied currawong Behavior

Pied currawongs are usually tree-dwelling, searching and foraging some meters above the ground, and thus in a position to share territory with the ground-foraging Australian magpie.

Birds roost in forested areas or giant bushes at night, disperse to forage within the early morning, and return within the late afternoon.

Although typically solitary or encountered in small teams, the species could kind bigger flocks of fifty or more birds in autumn and winter. On the ground, a pied currawong hops or struts.

During the breeding season, pied currawongs will pair up and develop into territorial, defending each nesting and feeding area. 1994 examine in Sydney’s leafy northern suburbs measured an average distance of 250 m (820 ft) between nests, whereas one other in Canberra in 1990 had three pairs in a 400 m (1,300 ft) section of pine-tree lined avenue.

Territories have been measured around 0.5–0.7 ha in Sydney and Wollongong, though these have been restricted to nesting areas and didn’t embrace a bigger feeding territory, and seven.9 ha in Canberra.

Pied currawongs vigorously drive off threats comparable to ravens and interact in bill-snapping, dive-bombing, and aerial pursuit.

They undertake a particular risk display towards different currawongs by reducing the head so the head and body are parallel to the ground and pointing the beak out ahead, typically straight on the intruder. The male predominates in risk shows and territorial defense and guards the feminine carefully as she builds the nest.
pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina
Flocks of birds seem to interact in play; one routine includes a bird perching atop a tall tree, pole, or spire, and others swooping, tumbling, or diving and making an attempt to dislodge it. A profitable challenger is then challenged in its turn by different birds within the flock.

The pied currawong bathes by wading into the water as much as 15 cm (5.9 in) deep, squatting down, ducking its head under, and shaking its wings. It preens its plumage afterward, generally making use of mud or soil first. The species has additionally been noticed anting.

Pied currawong Breeding

The Pied Currawong’s nest is a bowl of sticks, lined with grasses and different soft materials. The materials are gathered by each sex, however, the feminine builds the nest, which is positioned in a high tree fork, as much as 20 m above the ground.

The feminine incubates the eggs, and the male feeds her. The male additionally supplies meals to the feminine for the first week after the chicks hatch and she or he feeds the chicks.

Although present in many varieties of woodland, the pied currawong prefers to breed in mature forests. It builds a nest of skinny sticks lined with grass and bark high in bushes in spring; usually, eucalypts are chosen and by no means remoted ones.

Pied currawong produces a clutch of three eggs; they’re a light pinkish-brown color (likened by one writer to that of foolish putty) with splotches of darker pink-brown and lavender.

pied currawong, scientific name Strepera graculina

Tapered oval in form, they measure about 30 mm × 42 mm (1.2 in × 1.7 in). The feminine broods alone. The incubation interval isn’t well-known, as a result of the problem of observing nests, however, observations point out around 30 days from laying to hatching.

Like all passerines, the chicks are born bare, and blind (altricial), and stay within the nest for an extended interval (nidicolous) They shortly develop a layer of ashy-grey down. Both parents feed the younger, though the male doesn’t start to feed them straight till a couple of days after birth.

The channel-billed cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae) parasitizes pied currawong nests, laying eggs that are then raised by the unsuspecting foster parents.

The eggs carefully resemble these of the currawong hosts. Pied currawongs have been identified to abandon nests as soon as cuckoos have visited, abandoning the present currawong younger, which die, and a Channel-billed cuckoo has been recorded decapitating a currawong nestling.

The brown goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus) and lace monitor (Varanus varius) have additionally been recorded taking nestlings.


Pied Currawongs have tailored effectively to dwelling in city areas and their rising numbers have been implicated within the fall in numbers of the smaller bird species.


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