Grey Currawongs

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawong

Grey Currawongs are widespread throughout the area where I live in South Australia but they are not common anywhere except perhaps in the Adelaide Hills. Around home here in Murray Bridge their preferred habitat is mallee scrubland. There are still a few remnant patches of scrub ranging from a few hectares to several hundred hectares. In addition, there is a significant amount of remnant mallee scrub that makes up the roadside vegetation in this district. These remnant habitats are probably very important to the Grey Currawong’s continued existance in the mallee areas of our state.

Unlike the Pied Currawong in other parts of Australia, the Grey Currawong here is not an urban dweller. It was with a little surprise then that last week I saw a group of three currawongs in a park next to one of the factories here in Murray Bridge. This park is surrounded on all sides by either light industrial establishments or low density housing.

Perhaps they are moving from the bush to become “townies”.


9 Responses to “Grey Currawongs”

  1. Duncan says:

    Great lever offers of bark, Grey Currawongs. Handsome birds.

  2. Trevor says:

    They certainly are handsome birds. I love hearing their calls echoing through the forest. Here in Murray Bridge it’s more likely to be “echoing through the scrub.”

  3. Ron Summers says:

    wow!! would be something to see Grey Currawongs in town but maybe a bit of a worry to other birds though as they can be mischievous,though it would make them easier to study.

  4. Trevor says:

    Hi there Ron, welcome to my blog about Australian birds. When you say “in town” where do you mean? Where are you located? Currawongs are resident in many residential areas in Australia.

  5. Cath says:

    Hello there,
    I have a currawong here with me at Littlehampton in the Adelaide Hills. Curry came to me via a circuitous route – he was stuck upside down for some hours high in a tree in Crafers last Sept, rescued by a neighbour of a workmate and finally came to me as they didn’t know what to do. I had never raised a currawong before and I can say it has been a very rewarding experience. I adore the bird.
    The bird hadn’t fledged, only had downy feathers and could not stand for about a week. This is back in Sept. It was just a huge beak surrounded by down.
    Plenty of boiled egg, meal worms (with heads squashed), strawberries, blueberres and mulberries. Shards of apple each day. Small lump of cheese for calcium. And mice and rats. At least now Curry is big (voice has broken, eyes now yellow instead of gray-brown) I don’t have to scissor the rodents into pieces for him. He eats them whole. Fresh corn kernels are a favourite. Bits of steak rolled in Wombaroo insectivor mix, too. As a baby I fed him every two hours, now it’s 3 or 4 times a day.
    The bird rides my dog’s back, just loves the dog. This happened by accident really as once the bird fledged he spent a couple of months freeranging in a big room in my house for part of the day and overnight – outside for most of each day in a big cage for sun and to acclimatise to sounds of the wild. The dog would go into the room and sleep on the couch. So I guess the bird knew very early the dog was no threat. They nestle up to each other and Curry pulls out dog fur and swallows it to use for digestion. They chuck up casts like owls do.
    Curry presents me with the wiper blades of my car, steals my lighter, lies on its back at my feet, peeping and squeaking like a bloody chicken, flies onto my shoulder, sits inside the ute on the dashboard if I leave the window down (beware leaving bills and paperwork on dash, they get stolen or shredded).
    The bird has teamed up with a magpie of last spring so they are the same age.
    The magpie comes when I call “Curry chicken” at the top of my voice.
    They eat together but Curry is jealous and chases the magpie away eventually. He won’t let me carry around my galah, which I have had 4 years and has only 1 wing. Curry flies up and grabs the galah’s tail while she is perched on my shoulder, all the while screaming.
    Curry also loves teasing the bantam chooks and has them completely bluffed.
    All in all, an amazing character and part of my extended animal-only family.
    So what to do now? I am moving back east to NSW, to a farm in the middle of the state, and plan on taking the bird with me. It has been in the ute plenty of times and has travelled to the vet’s twice in a small cage and was not worried with his doggy mate sitting right there next to him.
    This is how I plan to undertake the big trip east.
    I feel he will die here as he does not know he is a currawong. Altho he responds to the calls of the odd currawong that passes through, I have caught him chasing another juvenile, and hiding from older birds.
    The magpies, and there are dozens here, have accepted him finally and he and his magpie mate fly around together and play chasies a lot.
    But 3 or 4 times a day he wants food from me. He finds his own slaters and earwigs, I know that, and uses his beaks to fish out bugs in the trees overhanging the house.
    The only neighbours have bloody cats and I fear he would hang around them if I left him here alone.
    I’d like to know what you think. Should I transport the birds in the day or overnight? The trip will be a nightmare with the dog, bantams, galah and cockatiel all in the car too. They all know each other though, altho I reckon Curry sees the cockatiel as lunch.
    Since the bird came from Crafers, I guess he is a grey currawong? Are there any pied currawongs here in SA? It’s bit hard to tell from the photos on the web but he looks like the bird at the top of this site. He has a definite white patch under the tail, white tail tips and white wing tips on the longest wing feathers.

  6. Trevor says:

    That is an amazing story Cath. Thanks for sharing it with my readers.

    I hope that it is okay with you – I’ve taken your entire story and published it in a new post here:

    I have made some minor editorial changes.

    I have answered you questions at the end of the article.

  7. Philip M. hicks says:

    Hello twitchers, I live at Leura in the Blue Mountains of NSW. I have two Grey Currawongs [ Strepera versicolor ] constantly around our property all seasons. The local area is high [ 975 metres plus ] and is open forest in nature with plenty of ti-tree, tall mountain ashes and scribbly gums. They are both large birds about 55cms tip to tip. I find it difficult to tell if thet are a pair or two males. One is much more timid than the other, according to my reference books a female has a brown eye surround and the male yellow. Both the birds I mention have yellow eyes. Does the brown eye for females hold good? Phil H. Leura. NSW

  8. Jill says:

    I think I have a grey Currawong in my back yard, it is on it’s own and I live in Seaview Downs Adelaide. I,m not sure what to feed it, can anyone help??

  9. Dave Dunn says:

    Hi. My grandfather James (Alby) Turner,and his brother Robert (Bobby) Turner (he ran Emblem Aviaries,now known as The Bird Place) both called a crow/raven-like bird ‘Jays’. My Grandfather and I used to see them when bird-trapping in out-back South Australia,or rather they’d see us! They were annoying when trapping as they would see us sitting in a hollowed out bush waiting to pull the net and send out an alarm call making the parrots take flight. Annoying when you got up before dawn to set the net and hide,and may have been sitting there for hours waiting for there to be enough parrots for my Grandfather to pull the net,3 or 4 hundred birds so that 100 ‘flyers'(just weaned) could be kept,and the rest released or euthanased (a very large proportion had festering wounds from shotgun pellets or bleeding from the vent due to eating wheat laced with rat poison). Apart from the call,he used to point out the white under the tail to differentiate them from ‘crows’. Have you heard the name ‘Jay’ used? And which species do you think they’d be? A subspecies of Strepera versicolor? Or Strepera graculina,although the distribution map for Strepera graculina doesn’t seem to match seem to match up with where we mostly went trapping. Really I’m interested in the use of the name ‘Jay’ for a these birds as I cant find references to it on-line yet my grandfather,and the farmers that owned the land we trapped on used it,none of them used the name Currawong at all,had you heard of it?

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