The bird’s name comes from its call, which sounds like “curra-wong, curra-wong.” Although Australia has several types of currawongs, I’m focusing on the pied currawong, since it’s the one that lives near me. The pied currawong is black, with white under the tail and near the tips of its wings. It has a large black bill, with dark grey legs. The males and females look alike, but the juveniles are greyer and fluffier.
Both males and females gather sticks and grasses for their nest, but the female builds it in a high tree fork. The male feeds the female while she incubates the eggs and feeds the chicks after they hatch.
Currawongs are not popular birds. My next-door neighbor, for example, loathes them because they can decimate the population of smaller birds. Poet Judith Wright characterized a currawong couple as a gangster and a moll.
However, they are voracious eaters of harmful insects and clean up carrion as well. Like magpies, currawongs are playful. This currawong comes by my office window nearly every day to play peekaboo.
Sometimes they even sing together.
Although currawongs may have a terrible reputation, they are still welcome visitors to my backyard.