Fun Currawong Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 09, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Abdulqudus Mojeed
Currawong facts are interesting and fun to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.9 Min

Bearing resemblance to magpies, crows, and ravens, a currawong includes three different species of medium-sized blackbirds. This includes the grey currawong, the pied currawong (Strepera graculina), and the black currawong. It is believed that there are around seven similar species of currawong, though only three have been identified to date. Their name is derived from the unique calls of the pied currawong which sounds similar to it. However, some believe the name has nothing to do with its calls and is an anglicized version of ‘garrawan’ from the local Jagera language. Despite an earlier belief by various ornithologists that they are closely related to crows and magpies, they are not related to any of these species. They are very remotely related to the crow family and have shorter limbs than magpies. They are more closely related to the Malaconotoidea superfamily and are a part of the family Artamidae which includes passerine birds like songbirds. All currawong species have small patches of white under their tail.

Moreover, they are known for their special comical style of flying. They fall from branch to branch as opposed to flying around trees. Found exclusively in Australia, currawongs only migrate from shrubland to cities during the autumn and winter season. They can be identified by their bright yellow eyes, crow-like beak, and long tail feathers.

If currawongs are of interest, then check out spruce grouse and tricolored heron facts too.

Currawong Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a currawong?

The currawong is a type of passerine bird.

What class of animal does a currawong belong to?

The currawong belongs to the class of Aves.

How many currawongs are there in the world?

There is no specific estimate for the range of mature currawongs in the wild. However, their general population trend is increasing and they are increasingly being regarded as pests across Australia.

Where does a currawong live?

The currawong is exclusive to Australia, however, locations vary with this species. The pied currawong, Strepera graculina is a medium-sized bird, that can be found throughout eastern Australia. This includes from northern Queensland to Victoria.  The grey Ccrrawong inhabits the southern regions, whereas the black currawong is found exclusively in Tasmania.

What is a currawong's habitat?

The habitat of currawongs includes shrublands and savanna regions, but they may also live in the city or migrate to it during autumn and winter. The pied currawong (Strepera graculina) prefers to live in the former areas and even in cities such as Sydney and is mostly found around parks and gardens. The black currawong habitat includes grazing land and savannas.

Who do currawongs live with?

Currawongs tend to live in small flocks with their species. Some may choose to live alone in urban areas such as Sydney in New South Wales. During autumn and winter, they may live in larger groups consisting of over 50 birds. Over the years, they have adapted well to living alongside humans. During the breeding seasons, these birds nest in pairs and protect them with loud, shrill calls.

How long does a currawong live?

The average lifespan of this native Australian bird species is 10 years, though some birds have lived for as long as 20 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Currawongs usually breed in forests as opposed to urban areas. Their breeding season is from August to December. After the male and the female mate, the female of this Australian bird species builds a nest in trees like eucalyptus and broods on her own. Their nests are cup-shaped and consist of sticks lined with softer materials like grass and bark. However, their nests are poorly made and are often reused in the coming years. Similar to the fate faced by crows, the channel-billed cuckoo often destroys a currawong egg and lays its own in its place.

Currawongs nest quite high up in trees and these are densely guarded which makes information regarding their young and incubation period difficult to obtain. It is known that a pied currawong's nest consists of up to three eggs that are pinkish-brown in color, whereas black currawongs may lay two to four eggs. The young are born bare and blind. Both parents take care of the young though the male starts after a few days. The young remain in the nest for a long time as compared to other bird species and first grow a layer of dark gray on their body.

What is their conservation status?

The Australian currawong species has been recorded as a bird of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List. The increasing population range of this native bird has resulted in many cities in Australia such as Sydney, taking preventative measures against them. The breeding season of the Australian currawong overlaps with those of other smaller birds, and the currawong feeds on them while bringing up its offspring. In a single season, it may eat up to 4-5 lb (1.8-2.3 kg)  of smaller birds. Such behavior and also frequent eating of fruits from farmlands have branded them as a pest across Australia.

General prevention methods include culling along with a decrease in the plantation of berries and fruits that currawong flocks tend to prefer. Their black color with yellow eyes gives them occult connotations as well. Currawong flocks are much less sensitive than crows and ravens and often return to plague farmers. Their general population is on the rise and it does not seem that they are immediately threatened by any human measures.

Currawong Fun Facts

What do currawongs look like?

The currawong is an Australian bird that is mostly black, though it may have splotches of gray and small patches of white as well. The black currawong is fully black with yellow eyes. Their tail has black and white feathers at the end. Their bill is stark black. The grey currawong is similarly gray-black with a gray bill and white tail feathers. They are slimmer and more streamlined in shape than crows, and their feet are shorter than that of an Australian magpie. Their bill is larger than either of these birds. Unlike the Australian magpie whose eyes are dull red, all currawongs have bright yellow eyes. Their tail and wing plumage makes them distinctly separate from both. The pied currawong (Strepera graculina) is a medium-sized bird that has black and white plumage with white at the end of its wing and tail.  

A black-colored currawong with some white patches on the backside of its body.

How cute are they?

Currawongs are not very cute due to their drab color, however, bird lovers will be able to appreciate their athletic shape and comical flying methods. Grey currawongs and pied currawongs (Strepera graculina) are quite cute with their lighter colors and small head that bobs up and down as they walk.

How do they communicate?

Currawongs mainly communicate via vocal calls including rings, whistles, and shrill cries. They are extremely intelligent birds which contribute to their status as pests as are difficult to get rid of. A single flock may produce a variety of ringing calls and be quite noisy. Currawong calls may indicate territoriality, mating behavior, feeding zones, or act to deter predators. There are also various pitch variations in their call. It was studied that pied currawongs can only hear a call that humans can as well. In other words, their hearing frequency does not extend beyond ours.

How big is a currawong?

The average size of currawongs in Australia is 19 in (48.2 cm). They are three times the size of a whitebread swallow or around the same size as that of a raven.

How fast can a currawong fly?

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

How much does a currawong weigh?

Native currawongs weigh around 10-11 oz (283-312 g) depending on the gender of the birds.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specified name for currawongs. Both male and female birds are called currawongs.

What would you call a baby currawong?

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

What do they eat?

The native currawong mainly feeds on a range of insects along with foraging a variety of fruits. They also enjoy feeding on smaller vertebrates like skinks and turtledoves. They also eat bird eggs from nests.

Are they dangerous?

Despite being only distantly related to crows, they are equally intelligent and annoying. Currawongs are not dangerous to humans, though they are a pest to farmers with flocks constantly feeding on fruits and crops. They go foraging across orchards and seem to favor berries a lot and nest in the Eucalypt tree specifically. In smaller gardens, currawongs can be favorable by foraging out small insects and rodents.

Would they make a good pet?

Currawongs are wild birds and are protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974. One cannot keep them as pets as they are not adapted to life in captivity. A juvenile currawong will eat both fruit and meat matter and if one finds a baby currawong, it is best to call the appropriate service lines than trying to take care of it by feeding it berries or some other such matter.

Did you know...

While they have many different calls and whistles, the most distinct one is the 'curra-wong,try curra-wong' call. Another interesting feature about their ringing calls is the amount of variety they can bring to them. Similar to magpies, currawongs can mimic many predators' calls to a large degree.

What is the difference between a crow and a currawong?

Unlike crows, currawongs are not all black. Even the black currawong has white tips at its tail and wings which can distinguish it during flight. Crows have brown eyes whereas currawong eyes are bright yellow.

Do currawongs kill other birds?

Currawongs feed on birds like skinks and turtledoves.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the ringneck dove or European starling.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our currawong coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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