PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina)

I mentioned the bird name Currawong a couple of posts previously when talking about the Australian Ravens I’d seen down in the seaside suburb of Altona 3 weeks ago.

I managed to find my (only) 2 photos of what I believe is a Pied Currawong (Strepera craculina) in my archives.  Now that I’ve found these images made in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on 6th December 2013 I’ve given them a folder all of their own in my Archives so these images will be easy to find if I need them again.

Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina)

I imagine they were random shots of what I thought was a crow at the time and not particularly good, (as far as Bird photos go), but the second image does show the yellow eye more clearly.

It’s a large crow-like bell-magpie.  Generally black, with a heavy black beak.

Distinguished by contrasting white base and tip to tail. white under-tail coverts, and striking white patch in the wing particularly conspicuous in flight.   The eye is strikingly yellow and this should have alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t a crow at the time of shooting.

The immature is a duller grey-brown, with dark eye according to my Photographic Field Guide Birds of Australia by Jim Flegg.

They have a varied tunefully mellow whistle, plus harsh shrieks and variants of ‘currawock’ and ‘currawong’ and while they’re essentially a forest bird, they’ve adapted to well-treed farms, scrub and city parks and gardens.   I managed to find a very short YouTube of a Black Currawong call.

I’ve been listening to a cacophony of bird sounds outside my lounge windows this morning, broken by the sweet chirping of the Superb Fairy-wrens.   I wish I could see which bird(s) have made a home in the Eucalyptus tree next to my apartment balcony fence, but the foliage is too dense as you can see in the image I just made below.

20 minutes ago, the same(?) young female House Sparrow was sitting on the partition that divides my apartment balcony from the balcony next door (below).

This is an even harder shot due to the louvred set of windows on the right-hand side of my floor-to-ceiling windows in front of my desk.   It’s quite hard to hold the heavy long telephoto lens and DSLR pointing upwards right between the glass panes.   Fortunately, I opened all my windows and door wide open when I got up this morning to let fresh air in.     It’s much easier to hold the heavy lens horizontal with my elbows leaning on my desk when birds actually land on my balcony.

I much prefer images of the birds when they land on my balcony and are doing something interesting that I can photograph clearly from my desk chair.

I saw one Sparrow carrying a rather large bundle of nesting material yesterday.


Melbourne, Australia, where I live in one of the outer north-western suburbs, is in strict lock-down for at least 6 weeks at the moment as we try to contain a large cluster of virus-outbreaks in the high-rise housing commission apartment blocks to the north of the city, but once the winter fog clears I’ll see if I can manage a quick walk outdoors as it’s going to be a beautiful sunny winter day today (and tomorrow).

Housing Commission, for overseas followers,  as described on Wikipedia:

The Housing Commission of Victoria (often shortened to Housing Commission, especially colloquially) was a Victorian State Government body responsible for public housing in Victoria, Australia. It was established in 1938, and was abolished in 1984.

The main activity of the Commission was the construction of tens of thousands of houses and flats in Melbourne and many country towns between the late 1940s and the early 70s, providing low rent housing for low-income families. The most visible legacy of the Commission is the 47 or so high-rise apartment towers in inner Melbourne, all built using the same precast concrete panel technology.

Those high-rise apartments are small and often house 2-3 families, or extended families in each flat, and have no balconies or Room With a View like I have.   I must admit if I didn’t have a green outlook, I would find it very difficult to sustain living long-term house-bound so I have great sympathy for the Housing Commission occupant’s current plight.

The State Government is hoping after the 6 weeks we can get back to our (new) ‘normal‘ i.e. staying home or working from home (if possible), limited daily outings for food and exercise, or caregiving/medical needs……….and limited cafes, hotels & social get-to-gether numbers.

It’s a very strict indoor lifestyle at the moment.