Apostlebird Click to enlarge image
apostlebird Image: unknown
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    cinerea
    Genus
    Struthidea
    Family
    Corcoracidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Small 29 cm to 33 cm

Medium-sized, dark grey, short strong black bill, black legs.

Identification

A medium-sized dark grey bird with a short black bill, brown wings and a long black tail. Usually seen on the ground.

Habitat

Open dry forests and woodlands near water, but may also be found in farmlands with trees, along roadsides, in orchards and on golf courses.

Distribution

Eastern Australia



Seasonality

In autumn and winter, it will move to more open country where seeds become the more important part of its diet.

Feeding and diet

Usually seen in groups of six to ten birds, and is usually seen on the ground. It eats seeds and vegetable matter, insects and other invertebrates, and sometimes small vertebrates.

Communication

Its call is a rough, scratchy, and discordant: 'ch-kew ch-kew'.

Breeding behaviours

It forms a 'breeding unit' – a dominant male and several females, plus immature birds that act as helpers. The nest is a large mud bowl, placed on a horizontal branch 3-20 m high, and reinforced and lined with grass. Usually only the adults incubate the eggs, but all members of a group assist with nest building and feeding of nestlings. More than one female may lay eggs in the same nest. While many eggs may be laid, usually only four nestlings will survive to fledge, with numbers possibly restricted by the size of the nest.

Economic impacts

The Apostlebird can become quite tame around farms, foraging with domestic poultry, and is common around camp sites. It can be seen dust-bathing on roadsides