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Grey Currawong

From Opus

Alternative names: Common Currawong; Grey Bell-Magpie; Grey Crow-Shrike; Black-winged Currawong

Photo by FelixWilsonTasmania, Australia, August 2004
Photo by FelixWilson
Tasmania, Australia, August 2004
Strepera versicolor


[edit] Identification

44 - 57cm (17¼-22½ in). A large, raven-like bird, but slender, with a long, conical bill.
The Grey Currawong is a mainly dark bird with some white markings. Its eyes are yellow. It is variable species with six subspecies.

Sexes similar, males are larger and darker than females.
Juveniles are much browner and have softer and looser body plumage.

[edit] Variations

JuvenilePhoto by limaSwanpool, Victoria, Australia, August 2006
Photo by lima
Swanpool, Victoria, Australia, August 2006

All subspecies have a white-tipped tail. These include:

  • the nominate race, race versicolor, is variably grey to grey-brown, with a white tail-tip, undertail and white across wings;
  • the 'Clinking Currawong', race arguta, is a large, very dark form;
  • the 'Black-winged Currawong', race melanoptera, is grey-black without any white on wings, but retains white undertail and tail tip;
  • the 'Brown Currawong', race intermedia, is overall darker grey-brown than the nominate;
  • race plumbea is darker and replaces the nominate race in the western parts of its range;
  • race halmaturina is dark, with no white in wings and a narrow white tail band.

[edit] Similar species

Black Currawong has a black undertail. Pied Currawong has more white, is usually darker and has a pronounced hooked bill.

[edit] Distribution

Photo by The BosunCleland Conservation Park, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, September 2009
Photo by The Bosun
Cleland Conservation Park, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, September 2009

Southern Australia including Tasmania.
Locally common to uncommon. Has evidently declined in numbers.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Six subspecies are recognised[1]:

Several subspecies have also been treated as full species.

[edit] Habitat

Wide range of areas from the coast to the semi-desert, including forests, woodlands and mallee areas.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

They feed on a range including small animals, insects, eggs, seeds, fruit and carrion.
Forages mainly on the ground.

[edit] Breeding

Known to be a nest predator.
Breeding season from July to December. Nests are in the upper canopy, up to 15 metres above the ground. A large, shallow nest made of sticks. Lays 2 - 3 eggs. Eggs are incubated by the female and both sexes feed the young.

[edit] Movements

Mainly a sedentary species.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  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. The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds

[edit] External Links


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