28 Choughs just flew by

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

White Winged Chough carrying nesting material

We regularly have a family of about 8 – 10 White-winged Choughs in our garden. I can’t really say that they are a resident species, but they do come for a visit almost every day. Sometimes they hang around for an hour or two, digging little holes in the soil or searching under leaf litter for lunch. Sometimes they just fly through on their way next door, or down the road. We are usually aware of their presence; they can be noisy at times.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the sun on the back veranda reading a magazine. Without a warning call, a large flock of White-winged Choughs flew past less than five metres away. They headed over the fence into our neighbour’s garden. I went after them but didn’t have time to grab the camera. Just as well – they didn’t hang around long enough for photos. They created quite a hullabaloo – I’m not sure what the issue was, but as they flew off down the road I managed to count them – at least 28 birds. This is the most I have seen here (from memory).


For readers of this post, please note a new feature on this blog.

Go below the comments to sign up for Trevor’s Birding Newsletter. I plan to publish a monthly newsletter with news, photos, and features not published on my blog.

It’s FREE.

This post was updated on November 1st 2016.


8 Responses to “28 Choughs just flew by”

  1. Snail says:

    28 of the little delinquents in one spot! Probably casing the joint. I reckon you can tell they’re related to apostlebirds just from their attitude 🙂

  2. Trevor says:

    I disagree – they are BIG delinquents!

    They had quite an altercation with the local maggies. Outnumbered the magpies 9:1. Guess who won?

    They were probably casing the joint – flew through a few times again today.

    I don’t know whether to be ‘chuffed’ or not.

  3. Snail says:

    I’m letting that last line go through to the keeper!

    They do have a cocky swagger. Like ’em but wouldn’t trust ’em

  4. Trevor says:

    You’re right about that swagger. Always amused by the fact that they seem to prefer to walk – er – swagger – everywhere instead of flying. Are they also a tad lazy??

  5. Caroline says:

    ‘Delinquents’ is right! They visit me nearly every morning, to pick up the grain that the old horse has dropped. But I have noticed that they have vandalised any nests they have come across in the garden. A pair of willy-wagtails and topknot pigeons who had made nests in nearby trees, have now chosen to move off elsewhere after having their nests trashed by these pesky birds. They are no match for the two maggies on the hill and I have to say I’m a bit cross with them for wreaking havoc in what was once probably safe nesting environment for other birds. The rufous whistler who used to ‘attack’ his reflection in the laundry window has also flown off to nest elsewhere. I do realise of course that I amlargely to blame for feeding the horse on lawn and attracting them. I’ve been trying to find some reference to this propensity of their’s for destroying other birds’ nests–but without luck.

  6. Trevor says:

    Hi there Caroline,

    Thanks for your comments. WW Choughs are well-known for their “bully-boy” behaviour towards other species, especially when they are nesting. They almost always have a sentinel bird – usually the main male – on watch when they are feeding or nesting. Woe betide any other bird that appears to pose a threat!

    The most common conflict is with Australian Magpies; their noisy encounters are frequent on our property. I am not surprised that they rob the nesting material of other species or wreck their nests though I can find no record of this in HANZAB*.

    *HANZAB = Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds vol 7.

  7. Caroline says:

    Thanks Trevor. I didn’t know they were well known for this type of behaviour which was the confirmation I was looking for.

  8. Linda says:

    G’day Trevor, well I used to love the choughs, but they appear to have overbred the past couple of years here and are intent on eating rare and endangered orchid bulbs, any solutions. Very busy after all the beaut rain!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *