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White-bellied Cuckooshrike - BirdForum Opus

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Adult subspecies, C. p. hypoleuca
Photo © by RMD
Nhulunbuy, NT, Australia, 31 October 2004
Coracina papuensis


22–29 cm. (8¾-11½ in.)

  • Mid-grey overall.
  • Slightly darker on wings and tail.
  • Paler, almost white, on belly.
  • Black stripe from bill to eye.

Juveniles are browner, more mottled, and have less black on the face. Sexes are alike.


Some birds in the east have the head and breast black with bars on abdomen.


Northern and Eastern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.


Some authors lump Manus Cuckooshrike (Coracina ingens) with this species.


This is a polytypic species. Thirteen subspecies currently recognized[1].

  • C. p. papuensis – northern Moluccas, eastern Lesser Sundas (Kisar, Luang, and Sermata), West Papuan Islands, and lowlands of northern and western New Guinea (Bird's Head east, in the north, to the Huon Gulf, and in the south to the Lorentz River).
  • C. p. oriomo – Lowlands of se New Guinea and ne Australia (n Queensland).
  • C. p. angustifrons – SE New Guinea (Huon Gulf to Hall Sound).
  • C. p. louisiadensis – Tagula I. (Louisiade Archipelago).
  • C. p. sclaterii – Bismarck Archipelago.
  • C. p. perpallida - Solomon Is. (Bougainville, Choiseul, Santa Isabel, Florida).
  • C. p. elegans – Solomon Is. (New Georgia Group, Rendova and Guadalcanal).
  • C. p. eyerdami – Malaita (Solomon Islands).
  • C. p. timorlaoensis – Tanimbar Islands (Banda Sea).
  • C. p. hypoleuca – north central Australia (northeastern Western Australia to northwestern Queensland); nonbreeding migrant north to Tanimbar, Kai, and Aru island groups probably this subspecies.
  • C. p. apsleyi – Melville and Bathurst Islands (Northern Territory).
  • C. p. artamoides – C and eastern Queensland to n New South Wales).
  • C. p. robusta – N-c and e NSW to sw Victoria and adj. se South Australia.

Some authors recognize C. p. intermedia of SC New Guinea, here synonymized with nominate race.


Moist lowland forests, montanes and mangrove forest.



Mostly larger insects including dragonflies, cockroaches, mantids, grasshoppers and bugs, as well as some fruit, nectar and seeds.


The clutch consists of 1-3 greenish or blue-green eggs marked with brownish spots. The nest is a shallow cup of plant materials bound with spider web in the fork of a tree.


Rather weak, squealing, slurred double notes, often repeated.


Mostly resident but locally nomadic in Australia during dry winter season.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Dutson, G. (2011) Birds of Melanesia, Christopher Helm, London.
  3. Gregory, P. (2017) Birds of New Guinea, Including Bismarck Archipelago and Boughainville. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  4. Taylor, B. (2019). White-bellied Cuckooshrike (Coracina papuensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/57850 on 26 November 2019).

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