black currawong?

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black currawong?

Hi,
These birds were seen in southern Tasmania (near Huonville).
I think these are Black Currawongs, but the descriptions I have read say they are black all over except the tips of the tail and flight feathers.
These ones have a lot of white on the body under the tails (see first pic) and the white patches on the wings don't seem to me to be the tips of the flight feathers (second pic).
Could they be anything other than Black Currawongs?
Thanks!

Anonymous

sorry the pics came out a bit smaller than i thought!

trying this

DenisWilson
DenisWilson's picture

Hi Zoidberg
I think you need local advice.
The on-line references show the Grey Currawong has a "black-winged" race in Tasmania, but even this BIBY bird finder is inconsistent.
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder/display.cfm?id=127

It says: "the 'Black-winged Currawong', race melanoptera, is grey-black without any white on wings, but retains white undertail and tail tip;"

But then it says: "In Tasmania, the 'Black-winged' subspecies can be distinguished from the Black Currawong, S. fuliginosa, by having white in its wings and a less massive beak."

As I say, those two sentences are inconsistent. Sometimes it appears the entries are written by people who know their birds, but cannot express themselves clearly. Did they really mean what they say?

I suggest you try to contact the authors of the excellent "Birds in Tasmania" blog.
http://tassiebirds.blogspot.com/

I am inclined to guess that it is indeed the seemingly inappropriately named "Black-winged Currawong", a race of the Grey Currawong.

Clearly it is not a Pied Currawong, which does not enter Tasmania, according to the references, and it has a white rump, which your bird clearly does not have.

Cheers
Denis

ed
ed's picture

Hi Zoidberg
Not been to Tassie but Michael Morcombe Field Guide seems to indicate a Grey of the race Arguta.

Ed Townsville NQ

Anonymous

Hi,
Thanks very much for the suggestions on this one.
I was a bit confused by the Grey Currawong info too, especially since it talks about the race melanoptera in Tas but then goes on to indicate that it is found in Vic/SA (only?)...

I should have mentioned that I have heard birds calling around here that seem very much like the Black Currawong, but I've not heard anything that I could say sounded like the Grey Currawong sounds I've heard in recordings.

I couldnt see/hear these particular birds I photographed calling. I guess there's probably no reason we couldn't have two types of Currawong around here and I just haven't happened to hear these Grey ones call.

Thanks again!

VernJ
VernJ's picture

Hi hello. I thought I'd join the search, looked on my Simpson and Day CD program, and elsewhere.

Looks to me like the grey 'Clinking Currawong', race arguta, is a large, very dark form as the BIBY birdfinder suggests, is you bird.
.
Also called the black magpie in Tassie acording to this reference:- [url]
www.wildwalks.com/aves/passeriformes/grey-currawong.html [/url]

The simpson and day image shows race arguta having the right white patches to match your birds, also the smaller beaks.

Goodluck

VJ

Raoul
Raoul's picture

Zoidberg I grew up in Tasmania and left when i was 25 we called them a Black Jay.

soakes
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I have nothing useful to add, but I just want to say that I find this an interesting discussion. I recently discovered grey currawongs at my Gippsland property and they are a fascinating bird. I would say that their behaviour is quite different from that of black currawongs.

- soakes

soakes
Olinda, Victoria, Australia

Anonymous

Thanks everyone, I guess it's got to be a Grey Currawong of the arguta race!
I will have to keep an ear out for the call.

They were quite interesting to watch, mostly they were on the ground gathering insects in the grass, and sometimes sticking their beaks into the leaf litter / soil. When they moved on one flew up into a stringbark and was pulling bark off, presumably getting insects from under the bark.

I did check out that blog on Tassie birds, thanks Denis, and found this:
http://tassiebirds.blogspot.com/2006/03/clinkers.html#links

Anonymous

Thanks everyone, I guess it's got to be a Grey Currawong of the arguta race!
I will have to keep an ear out for the call.

They were quite interesting to watch, mostly they were on the ground gathering insects in the grass, and sometimes sticking their beaks into the leaf litter / soil. When they moved on one flew up into a stringbark and was pulling bark off, presumably getting insects from under the bark.

I did check out that blog on Tassie birds, thanks Denis, and found this:
http://tassiebirds.blogspot.com/2006/03/clinkers.html#links

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