Grey Currawong

Did you know?

The Grey Currawong is so diverse in appearance that its six subspecies were originally thought of as separate species.

Calls
High-pitched ringing, clinking call.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
45cm
Maximum Size: 
53cm
Average size: 
49cm
Average weight: 
168g
Breeding season: 
August to December
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3
Incubation: 
21 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
SA: 
TAS: 
VIC: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
697
What does it look like?
Description: 

Similar to other currawongs in that it is a mainly dark bird with some white markings and a yellow eye, the Grey Currawong is however a highly variable species, with six distinct subspecies throughout its range. All subspecies have a white-tipped tail. These include: the nominate ('originally named') race, versicolor, which 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.

Similar species: 

In the west of its range, the Grey Currawong is the only currawong species to be found. In the east, it can be distinguished from the Pied CurrawongS. graculina, by its less robust and less hooked bill, its generally greyer rather than black plumage, and its higher pitched, ringing or 'clinking' call. In Tasmania, the 'Black-winged' subspecies can be distinguished from the Black CurrawongS. fuliginosa, by having white in its wings and a less massive beak. It can be distinguished from the similarly sized White-winged Chough, which has a longer tail with no white, a more slender down-curved beak and a red eye.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The six distinct subspecies of the Grey Currawong have ranges from far south-western to south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The 'Clinking Currawong', race arguta, is confined to Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands; the 'Black-winged Currawong', race melanoptera, is found in the mallee districts around the Victorian/South Australian border; the 'Brown Currawong', race intermedia, is found on the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas, South Australia; the race plumbea replaces the nominate in the north-west of South Australia, the south-west of Northern Territory and the southern half of Western Australia; the race halmaturina is confined to Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

Habitat: 

The Grey Currawong inhabits a wide range of habitats from the coast to the semi-desert, including forests, woodlands, mallee, coastal and other heaths. Also found in remnant vegetation on roadsides and farms, in orchards, and in suburban areas.

Seasonal movements: 

Tends to be more sedentary than the Pied Currawong. Some altitudinal migration, moving to lower areas in winter.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The Grey Currawong is an omnivore, eating small animals such as birds, rodents, frogs as well as eggs, insects, seeds, fruits and carrion (dead animals). They forage both on the ground and in trees, often on tree trunks using their bills as a probe for insects.

Breeding: 

The Grey Currawong builds a large shallow bowl-shaped nest of sticks in the outer canopy of a tree, usually about 5 m to 15 m above the ground. The nest is lined with dry grasses. The female incubates alone but both sexes feed the young.

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