Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawong

Native currant (Coprosma quadrifida)

Pellet containing seeds and insect remains
Grey currawongs are year round residents at Black Sugarloaf but unlike some of the smaller birds they are usually extremely cautious and difficult to approach.

During the past few weeks one (sometimes two) currawongs have come very close to the house to feed on the fruits of a native currant (Coprosma quadrifida). In late summer they spend much time searching for insects and invertebrates under the shedding bark of the eucalypts.

I often find large regurgitated pellets whose contents give some indication of the birds' diet. In winter the pellets are packed with seeds, whereas in summer they contain insect remains, mainly of beetles and european wasps.

Grey Currawongs used to be considered an endemic species and during my childhood we knew them as Cinking Currawongs, a wonderful name as it so aptly described their song. They are now considered the same species as the mainland Grey Currawongs. As well as their familiar "clink, clink" call the birds have a series of other notes including an owlish howl that I've only ever heard at dawn.

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