Dark birds: the elegant Pied Currawong

Pied Currawong

Shows Pied Currawong, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Golden eye and dark plumage: Pied Currawong

One of three species in Australia, the Pied Currawong, Strepera graculina, can be found all along the eastern coast, although not Tasmania.

In this part of the country, Pied Currawongs are common. They prefer forests and woodlands but have also adapted well to suburbia. They are adaptive, musical, playful and amazingly graceful.

In the Reserve

Pied Currawongs can be found in the built up areas around the Reserve but are also common within the Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve. They can be found in a loose group – probably a family group – at present, and some have been collecting nesting materials.

Shows Pied Currawong, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Pied Currawong: usually elegant but not so much in this pose 🙂

Shows Pied Currawong, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Perched in an acacia dealbata, watching the watcher

Shows Pied Currawong carolling, Edward Hunter Heritage Bush Reserve

Carolling

Both male and female birds collect materials but the female builds the nest. The male keeps her fed whilst she is incubating the eggs and during the first week after hatching – breeding season is from July and it takes around 15 weeks to raise the chicks.

Habits

The Pied Currawong eats berries, invertebrates and also other birds’ eggs and hatchlings. In summer, it is mainly invertebrates; in winter, it is berries. In this article, Ian Fraser discusses one of the contraversial aspects of this bird: their prey is young nestlings and eggs.

He explains this in the context that currawongs have become suburb dwellers. It used to be the case that they would breed in forests; however, the availability of berries in suburbia during winter (cotoneaster, for example) has meant they stick around during breeding season. Breeding requires high protein requirements and small birds and their eggs provide this. He explains that, as a consequence of their presence in suburbia, we notice behaviour we haven’t before.

The other issue that arises with currawongs is the belief that their increase in numbers has been at the expense of small native birds. Some research points to the effect on small birds such as Eastern Yellow Robins and the ease with which they are preyed upon given a lack of cover in fragmented remains and edges of bush. This article, like Fraser’s, indicates that pied currawongs, in fact, seem to prey most commonly on introduced/common birds.

The Pied Currawong can live up to 20 years.

Sources and further resources

Bayly, K.L. & Blumstein, D.T. (2001) Pied Currawongs and the deline of native birds, Emu, 101, 199-204. https://www.eeb.ucla.edu/Faculty/Blumstein/pdf%20reprints/Bayly&Blumstein2001_Emu.pdf

Birds in Backyards (n.d.) Pied Currawong Basic Information. http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Strepera-graculina

Fraser, I. (2012) Are currawongs always wong? BlogSpot: Ian Fraser, talking naturally. http://ianfrasertalkingnaturally.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/are-currawongs-always-wong.html

Wikipedia (2013) Pied Currawong. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pied_Currawong

2 responses to “Dark birds: the elegant Pied Currawong

  1. Hi,We have had a currawong move into our garden,Ilive at marcoola sunshine coast.We have a bird bath and the currawong has taken it over no other birds come near it.wich is a shame as a pair of eastern rosellas have used it for many years as well as magpies and various finches and honey eaters.Just wanting some advice. regards Gina

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s