Growing up to 51 cm, Pied Currawongs are impossible to miss. Their jet black feathers are a striking contrast to their bright yellow eyes.
Pied Currawongs also have splotches of white on their tail, undertail and wing tips, which are revealed when they fly.
These birds have a cheeky streak that dates back to the 1960s. Sydney Pied Currawongs all got a taste for milk, after learning how to pierce the foil tops of milk bottles with their beaks.
These days, your milk might be safe but your fresh laundry might not be, as Pied Currawongs regurgitate food as they fly!
If you hear a repeated ‘curra-wong’ or ‘caddow caddang’, you’re hearing the melodious Pied Currawong.
Pied Currawongs are common in suburban parks and gardens on the east coast of Australia. They are often spotted carefully searching for any hidden snacks.
Pied Currawongs don’t look as formidable and serious when they fly though. Their wings beat downwards very quickly in a rowing motion. This makes them appear to be falling from branch to branch.
You can make your garden friendlier for Pied Currawongs
Currawongs are great helpers to have around. They eat carrion from gardens, parks and streets. Pied Currawongs also eat two particular species of stick insect that can defoliate patches of eucalyptus forests if there are too many of them around.
You can help Pied Currawongs by letting insects flourish in your garden. Pied Currawongs original diet consisted of bull ants, stinkbugs and native berries.
These birds love to forage for insects. Avoid using pesticides so that Pied Currawongs can control your garden bug numbers.
Our gardens and parks can be a safe place for Pied Currawongs and will provide them with the food they need. Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies – to give you tips to help.
What is a backyard buddy?
Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The Pied Currawong is a backyard buddy.
Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like the Pied Currawong, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.
So you can be a backyard buddy.
Be a backyard buddy
It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.
Step one is to find out what Pied Currawongs do and do not like.
Pied Currawongs love:
Singing – in their distinctive and melodious call.
All day snacking – On anything they can rustle up in the leaf litter or high up in tree branches, such as small lizards, insects, rodents, caterpillars, chicks, berries, seeds and nuts.
Parties in winter – which bring out their chatty and social side. Outside of breeding season, Pied Currawongs enjoy letting their feathers down in flocks of up to 100 birds.
But they don’t like:
Rat poison – If a Currawong eats a rodent contaminated by rat poison, it could become sick and die.
Channel-billed Cuckoos – which lay their eggs in the nest of the Pied Currawong and leave their chicks for the currawongs to take care of.
Be a buddy to the Pied Currawong
Don’t be surprised if Pied Currawongs:
Find out more about your buddies
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