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Living in an original muddie

December 20, 2018

An expedition with Sue to locate a White-faced Heron’s nest in the Strath Creek Pioneer Reserve yielded nothing, but on the way back we observed what looked like a mud nest of a White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos) high up in one of the eucalypts. From our limited vantage point it was difficult to tell if it was from a previous season or this one. This week the tell-tale head of an adult looking over the nest rim (see picture left) confirmed an active nest site.

Choughs are ground-foraging birds that live in social groups of up to 20 individuals. Their diet mainly consists of seeds and invertebrates such as termites and beetles. At rest choughs are essentially black. The reason for the white-winged descriptor is obvious when the bird is flying or landing (see picture right). Choughs often get mistaken for the larger raven or currawong. Unmistakeable though are the red eyes of the adult which bulge when the bird is excited.

The nest is built of grass and mud or sometimes manure. From 3 to 5 eggs are usually laid by a single female in the group. Nest building is a shared group activity as is nest guarding and rearing the young. This is necessary as chick predation by birds such as currawongs is a major danger. The last time we documented a chough’s nest, three chicks survived in the nest.

We will update you as things progress this season.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    December 20, 2018 10:17 am

    Great photos! The water leak at the cenotaph is fixed so they will have to go further afar for mud! It is a magnificent muddie isn’t it?

  2. December 20, 2018 11:58 am

    A great find. They are such an awesome bird to work with. They do, I’ve found, settle in to tolerating me if I don’t rush them.
    The shot of the ‘discussion’ about who’s turn to sit on the eggs is so typical. Super to see.
    Hope you are able to see them fledged.

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