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Black Currawong - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Black Bell-Magpie; Sooty Currawong; Sooty Crow-Shrike; Black Magpie; Black Jay; Mountain Jay

Photo by jimmclean
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, November 2006
Strepera fuliginosa


Photo by Janha
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania, May 2003

50cm (19¾ in). A large dark passerine, resembling a crow:

  • Almost entirely black plumage (browner in older birds)
  • White wingbar on underwing, sometimes also visible on upperwing
  • Flight-feathers with white tips
  • White-tipped tail
  • Bright yellow eye
  • Massive, black bill, slightly hooked at tip

Sexes similar, males are larger than females.
Juveniles are blackish-brown, streaked on breast, have a greyish-white bill and off-white pale areas of wing and tail.

Similar Species

Grey Currawong: which has white under-tail coverts.


Tasmania and surrounding islands.


Photo by HelenB
Waterworks Reserve, Hobart, Tasmania, November 2009

Forms a superspecies with Pied Currawong and is sometimes treated conspecific with it.


Three subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • S. f. fuliginosa:
  • S. f. parvior:
  • Flinders Island (Bass Strait)
  • S. f. colei:
  • King Island (Bass Strait)


Open temperate forests, woodland, scrub and heathland



Feeds mainly on insects and small vertebrates like lizards, birds and mice. Takes also some fruit and seeds. Usually seen foraging on ground. Scavenges at picnic grounds and farmyards. Known to cache food.


Breeds generally from October to December. The nest is a large cup formed from sticks and lined with soft material. It is placed in a tall eucalypt tree. Lays 2 - 4 eggs. Known as strong nest defender.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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