Saturday, July 09, 2011


The pied currawong is a large black bird, 41-51cm (16-20") with white markings on the wing, rump, undertail and tip of tail. They are found from Cape York to south-western Victoria ranging about 400km inland.

Today currawongs are common in urban areas although their native habitats are forests and woodlands.

Recent research shows that while currawongs have a specialised wild diet of bull ants and stink bugs and native berries, our introduced (not native) garden plants have provided a range of winter fruiting plants to eat during the colder months. Less than 30 per cent of Australian native plants fruit in winter, and so normally a lack of food culled younger and less vigorous birds.

Exotic plants including pyracantha, cotoneasters, privet and hawthorn - planted in the suburbs, as hedges - have tipped the natural balance in favour of the currawong by providing berries whose seeds are then excreted into native bushland.

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