Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina novaehollandiae
(Viewing 4 of 11 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are one of our most common birds and are found virtually everywhere in Australia except in rainforest or out on treeless plains. Other popular names include Blue Jay (a misnomer, there are no Jays in Australia) or Shufflewing, a very apt alternative derived from their distinctive habit of shuffling each wing alternately on alighting.

Adults breed as pairs in territories but there are odd records of more than two birds attending a nest. In some areas territories are permanent but in cooler more southern regions they may be vacated in winter. Some movement does occur and flocks of up to 150 birds have been recorded.

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes feed on invertebrates both in the air and on the ground. They also glean food (which may include small fruit) from foliage and are quite adept at doing this in flight. I have seen them taking mulberries on the wing.

They build quite a small nest in a fairly thick horizontal fork, usually in a eucalypt at 10 or so metres from the ground.(see 424002) The nest is usually quite hard to see from below. When the nestlings approach fledging, there is barely enough room for them and they have to cling onto the nest, rather than sit in it. Occasionally, one does fall out to the ground.

Photo: 424001

424001 ... Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, nest and eggs

Photo: 424002

424002 ... Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, nest and eggs

Photo: 424202

424202 ... Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, adult.

Photo: 424204-D

424204-D ... Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

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