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Pied Currawong  -  Strepera graculina
photograph
Pied Currawong showing the characteristic black plumage with heavy, hooked, beak, yellow circular eye, white tail tip, small white wing panel and white base of tail (top and bottom).
currawong tail currawong tail
White segments of the pied currawong tail are identification features. The conspicuous white tail tip, white undertail coverts, white section at the base of the tail, and part of the white wing panels can all be seen in these photographs. Shape, presence and arrangement of white is different in other currawong species.
map map The Pied Currawong - Strepera graculina - is a mainly black bird with intense yellow eye and heavy, all-black beak with a hooked tip (and slightly curved upper surface). White around the vent and under tail, tail mostly black with white tip. In flight, conspicuous white crescent-shaped panels on the outer wing are visible; part of these panels is visible when the wing is folded. Adult males and females are generally similar, but females are smaller with shorter bills. Reaches 42 to 50 centimetres in length.

Pied Cormorant - page 2
Immature birds are the same shape as adults with the same large beak but have dull plumage and dark eyes.

Subspecies have been defined based on overall size, bill shape and tail colouring.

Habitats include open forest, woodland, scrubland, farms, suburban parks and gardens. Distributed on the eastern side of the Australian continent including much of Victoria, the eastern half of New South Wales and the eastern third of Queensland.

The Pied Currawong is found along the eastern side of the Australian mainland from Cape York in Queensland to the Grampians in Victoria and inland to 400 kilometres from the coast. The bird breeds in high country tall forests during summer; many move to the lowlands and plains in winter while some remain in the high country. Birds living in the northern parts and coastal Queensland are more sedentary. Non-breeding adults and immature birds tend to form mobile flocks containing up to 100 birds.

They are omnivorous scavengers searching for food everywhere. Fruit, berries, insects, lizards, snails, carrion and small birds are readily eaten. They hunt for food anywhere poking into foliage and crevices; walking, running and hopping over the ground to probe. This is an abundant species.

Breeding takes places from August to January; from July in the north. The pair defend a territory and gather nesting material but only the female appears to build the nest working mostly in mid-morning to complete the nest in 14 days. The nest is a cup of sticks, lined with roots and grasses placed 7 to 25 metres above ground in a fork in the outer branch of a eucalyptus. Usually three eggs are laid; light brown marked with blotches and freckles of darker brown; oval, about 42 by 30 millimetres.

The female alone incubates the eggs for about three weeks. The male feeds her on the nest. Both parents feed the young until some weeks after they fledge and the family occupies the territory until the end of the summer season. One brood is raised per season.

photograph
Pied Currawong.
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