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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

15 Amaze-wing Facts About The Apostlebird For Kids

To explore more about this bird, read these apostlebird facts.

The apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) is from the family Corcoracidae and is found in the range consisting of the eastern part of Australia. It is found in regions like Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Gulf country. It is known to be endemic to the Australian range. The types of habitat that these birds prefer include open eucalyptus woodlands and grasslands.

A source of water is required, like a stream for mud, as the mud is needed for building the nest. It is stated that these species are cooperative, social, and gregarious during breeding. A social group of around 20 birds is formed and this group consists of females, a dominant male, and some young ones from the last seasons. The breeding season takes place between the months of August and early January. The group or family members tend to help with parental duties like nest building, incubation of the eggs, and brooding of the nestlings. These family members could be young ones from the previous brood or breeding season, too. The nest is in the shape of a cup and is made with mud or animal dung, in case mud is not available. The nests are reused if they remain in good condition. Two broods are raised in every breeding season. The incubation of eggs takes place for about 18-19 days. During the breeding season, these birds are defensive and territorial.

These birds are dark gray in color with streaks on the body that are dull gray and have stout bills. The male and female of this species are monomorphic. The diet of this bird consists of seeds and insects like weevils, grasshoppers, and ants. These birds can be often spotted on the ground and when disturbed, tend to fly to the branches of trees and produce loud and harsh calls. Predators include gray-butcherbirds and brown goshawks. These birds are also known as gray jumper, happy jacks, family birds, and lousy jacks.

It is very fascinating to discover and learn about the apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) and if you like, read about purple finch and tawny owl, too.

Apostlebird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an apostlebird?

The apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) is a type of bird.

What class of animal does an apostlebird belong to?

It is categorized under the class of Aves of birds.

How many apostlebirds are there in the world?

There is no estimation of the total global population of the apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) available.

Where does an apostlebird live?

The distribution range of this bird consists of the eastern part of Australia. It is found in regions like Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Gulf country. These birds are non-migratory.

What is an apostlebird's habitat?

The types of habitat that these birds prefer include open eucalyptus woodlands and grasslands. A source of water is required like a stream for mud as the mud is needed for building the nest.

Who do apostlebirds live with?

These birds are known to live in groups of around 4-11 individuals. A group of apostlebirds is referred to as 12 apostles or a happy family.

How long does an apostlebird live?

The exact life span of this bird is not known.

How do they reproduce?

These birds are known to be cooperative during breeding. A social group of around 20 birds is formed and this group consists of females, a dominant male, and some young ones from the last seasons. Territories are occupied by these groups and also defended. Some mating rituals include displays by raising head and neck feathers. The breeding season takes place between the months of August and early January. The group members tend to help with parental duties like nest building, incubation, and brooding of the nestlings. The nest is in the shape of a cup and is made with mud or animal dung if mud is not available. The nests are reused if they remain in good condition. Two broods are raised in every season. It is believed that a single female lays two to eight eggs in one nest, but sometimes, two females can lay in a nest. The eggs are dull bluish in color with gray or black colored patches. Eggs are incubated for about 18-19 days and nestling takes place for about 18-29 days. It has been recorded that only four nestlings survive till fledging. The young ones are fed even after fledging for some months and juveniles can stay in the family group for some time.

What is their conservation status?

These birds are placed under the Least Concern category of conservation status. It has been recorded that the conservation status of this bird tends to vary within Australia from state to state. In the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988), this species has been listed as Threatened but is not protected.

Apostlebird Fun Facts

What do apostlebirds look like?

The plumage of this bird, Struthidea cinerea, is known to be soft and dark gray in color with streaks that are dull gray in color. The tail of this bird is black in color and the wings are brownish in color. The bill of this bird is known to be stout. Males and females of this species are known to be monomorphic in size and also plumage. The color of the iris is known to vary with age and the fledglings tend to have brownish eyes and the yearlings have gray eyes, whereas, adults tend to have gray eyes and a yellow-colored eye-ring. The eye-ring becomes prominent with age.

The color and the bill of this bird are some of its recognizable features.

How cute are they?

These birds are not very colorful and are not considered cute.

How do they communicate?

These birds communicate through calls like contact calls and alarm calls. The apostlebird call can be explained as harsh scratching or scolding calls.

How big is an apostlebird?

The length of this bird is around 11.4-18.5 in (29-47 cm). These birds are quite a bit larger than a rufous hummingbird and quite a bit smaller than a crowned eagle.

How fast can an apostlebird fly?

The flying speed of this bird is not available. This species is known to spend most of its time on the ground and tends to walk or move with a strutting gait and when it is disturbed, it tends to fly from the ground to the nearby branches and produce harsh calls.

How much does an apostlebird weigh?

The weight of this bird ranges from 3.8-4.5 oz (110-130 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this bird do not have any particular names and are simply referred to as males and females.

What would you call a baby apostlebird?

A baby of an apostlebird is known as a chick, just like the babies of other birds.

What do they eat?

The apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea) is known to forage on the ground and feeds on seeds and insects. The insects include weevils, grasshoppers, ants, and shield bugs. Insects are consumed during summer and seeds in winter. Occasionally, this species has also been recorded to feed on house mice.

Are they dangerous?

These birds are not considered dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Not much information is available or known about the apostlebird as pets.

Did you know...

The apostlebird is also referred to as gray jumper, happy jacks, family birds, and lousy jacks. It is known as lousy jacks because of their extreme louse infestations.

It is believed that the name apostlebird has its roots in the 12 apostles, followers of Jesus Christ. This name is given because these birds tend to live in groups or around 10-12 individuals.

It has been recorded that this bird was originally described by John Gould, an ornithologist in the year 1837.

The specific epithet cinerea in Latin means gray.

It is believed that these birds can be seen quite often, but they are hard to identify, and thus, to spot one, you must look for the eye ring and dull gray streaks on the body.

These species tend to bathe when they go into the water to drink in the summer. It is also known to do anting in order to control ectoparasites like lice and also eat ants. These birds are also known to engage in allopreening and groups of birds preen together or each other.  

Predators of this species include gray-butcherbirds and brown goshawks.

Are apostlebirds native to Australia?

These birds are known to be endemic or native to Australia.

What is a group of apostlebirds called?

A group of apostlebirds is known as a happy family or 12 apostles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our ivory-billed woodpecker facts and European robin facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Apostlebird coloring pages.

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