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Did You Know? 15 Incredible Grey Currawong Facts

Grey currawong facts that you will enjoy reading about

A grey currawong is a dark gray, brown, and black variable crow from the southern and northern territory of Australia and Tasmania. It is also spotted in western Australia, southwest to Temora and Albury, and Kangaroo island. A total of six subspecies, each of a different race have been recognized so far in Tasmania and Australia. Variation in color of the plumage, the amount of white on the wings, and the color of their plumage have led at one time to the distinction of some separate species. They have very striking yellow eyes with a white patch on the wings and has darker gray bills. The plumage is according to the subspecies of a different race. White is generally found near the base of the tail, the under tail coverts, and most clearly at the tip of the tail. The nominate species has a darker gray throat. They live in a group with other Australian birds. There are separate species of different race that look very similar to this bird. While bathing, the birds can be observed shaking their wings in ponds and applying clay to their plumage after washing. This bird has a very distinctive ringing to its clinking call. It is very easy to differentiate between a magpie and a grey currawong as the former has red, gray-brown eye color whereas the latter one has yellow eye color.

If you enjoy reading about the grey butcherbird, do check out interesting facts about the common raven and white-necked raven.

Grey Currawong Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a grey currawong?

The grey currawong is a large crow from the family Artamide.

What class of animal does a grey currawong belong to?

The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) is a type of bird from Artamide family, genus Strepera.

How many grey currawongs are there in the world?

There is no estimate of the total population of this species.

Where does a grey currawong live?

The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) is native to the northern territory of Australia. They range from western south Australia and even south Australia, including Tasmania. The distribution of this species is sparse in northern Victoria. It is spotted in the vicinity of Mudgee in the north and southwest to Temora and Albury onto the Riverina.

What is a grey currawong's habitat?

They are found in the woodlands, scrubland, farmlands near forests, and swampy areas. Grey currawongs inhabit a range of sclerophyll forests, as well as other open fields near forest areas, including parks and farms of south Australia. In addition to pine plantations, it also lives in forests. In southeastern mainland Australia, nominate race Versicolor is more common in wetlands, while subspecies arguta is more frequent in dry, lowland regions. In Western Australia, the subspecies plumbea is found in a variety of forests and woodlands, while melanoptera and intermedia occur primarily in scrublands.

Who do grey currawongs live with?

The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) usually lives in groups of individual species. In New South Wales, Sydney is a prime example of an urban area where some people might choose to live alone. A group of more than 50 birds may live together in autumn and winter.

How long does a grey currawong live?

It is estimated that the average lifespan of this native Australian bird is 10 years, but some species have lived up to 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

There is little information on grey currawong breeding habits, and its nests are inaccessible. Currawongs usually breed in forests as opposed to urban areas. The breeding season lasts from August to December. Currawongs build their nests high in trees from thin sticks layered with grass and bark. They usually build their nests from eucalyptus trees. Their nests are cup-shaped and consist of sticks lined with softer materials like grass and bark. Usually two to three rounded eggs, depending on the subspecies, are laid (though one to five can be laid). Currawongs nest quite high up in trees and these are densely guarded, making which makes information regarding their young and incubation period difficult to obtain. In one observation, the time between laying and hatching was estimated to be about 23 days. The chicks are born naked and blind. They stay in the nest for a long time. Each parent feeds the young. The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) was added to the IUCN Red List of endangered species as Least Concern. The total population of Currawong is quite stable.

What is their conservation status?

The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) is added in the Least Concern of the IUCN Red List of endangered species. The species appears to have a stable population trend, so it does not appear to be vulnerable under the population trend criterion. 2

Grey Currawong Fun Facts

What do grey currawongs look like?

Grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) share much in common with other currawongs, such as a mainly dark appearance with white markings and yellow eye. The species has multiple subspecies throughout its range, but is nonetheless highly variable. The tails of all subspecies are white-tipped. Race Versicolor, which has a grey to brown tail-tip, undertail, and white across its wings. Race arguta, the Clinking Currawong, is large and very dark. The black-winged Currawong, race melanoptera, is grey-black, with white undertail and at the tip of the tail. Brown Currawongs are gray-brown in general, but darker than the nominate forms. Race plumbea is darker and replaces the nominate race in the western parts of its range. The halmaturina race is characterized by dark wings and a thin margin of white at the tail. The black-winged Currawong lacks the white wing patches unlike others. They are quite similar species of more common relative like Pied Currawongs, Black Currawongs, and Australian Magpie.

The grey currawong has striking yellow eyes that help to easily distinguish them from other species.

How cute are they?

Despite their drab color, currawongs are rather attractive thanks to their athletic shape and comical flight techniques. A grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) is quite adorable, with its lighter color and little head that bobbles up and down as it walks.

How do they communicate?

Currawongs communicate mainly through vocalizations including rings, whistles, and shrill cries. Because of their intelligence, they are considered pests because they are hard to eradicate. The ringing calls produced by a flock can be quite varied and loud. There are various kinds of calls that currawongs make, including territorial calls, mating calls, or calls to deter predators.

How big is a grey currawong?

The grey currawong is 17-22 in (0.4-0.5 m) in length. It is similar looking to the Australian magpie and the butcherbirds. They are larger than its common relative the Pied Currawong of the similar family genus is mainly found in South Australia.

How fast can a grey currawong fly?

There is no exact estimate regarding the flight speed of currawongs.

How much does a grey currawong weigh?

The grey currawong weighs almost 0.8 lb (350 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for grey currawongs. Both male and female birds are called grey currawongs. It is also known as grey crow-shrike, leaden crow-shrike, mountain magpie, black-winged currawong in western Victoria, clinking currawong in Tasmania, and a squeaker in Western Australia.

What would you call a baby grey currawong?

Baby grey currawongs are simply known as juvenile grey currawongs. The name for young birds that are just born is nestlings.

What do they eat?

The grey currawong diet includes lizards, insects, caterpillars, and berries. It feeds on many invertebrates, such as snails, spiders, and woodlice, and a wide variety of insects including beetles, wasps, ants, and grasshoppers. They also feed on smaller vertebrates like frogs, skinks, mice, nestlings or young of other birds or sparrows, as well as lizards like the bearded dragon. The other feed includes fruit or berries. 

Are they friendly?

The grey currawong can be seen in gardens or suburban areas and are approachable. They are easily spotted and can be distinguished from other birds like magpies quite easily too. While bathing, the birds can be observed shaking their wings in ponds and applying clay to their plumage after washing.

Would they make a good pet?

A currawong is a wild bird protected by the 1974 National Parks and Wildlife Act. These animals are not suited to life in captivity, so one cannot keep them as pets. If one notices a juvenile currawong, it is best to contact the relevant service centers rather than feeding it berries or anything else as it has a slight aggressive temperament.

Did you know...

Grey currawongs play a prominent role in the major Dreaming tale of the Kaurna people when Tjilbruke kills one to use its fat and feathers as a covering before transforming himself into a glossy ibis at Rosetta Head.

Across Australia, there are six different ethnic groups, namely, the grey currawong, the brown currawong, the clinking currawong or locally as the black magpie, the black-winged currawong, halmaturina, the race plumbea.

What is the difference between a magpie and a currawong?

One can easily tell the difference between a Magpie and a Currawong on a close look. A currawong has yellow eyes, whereas a magpie has red, gray-brown eye color. And white wing patches are visible on the Magpie's body.

The grey currawong's call

The pitch of their voice has a clinking call and varies too. During flight or when in large numbers, the grey currawong makes a distinctive singing termed p'rink, clink, cling, ker-link, or tullock, depending on the individual. Tasmanian and Kangaroo Island subspecies produce a loud ringing call. 

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these currawong facts and Australian magpie fun facts pages.

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

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