General Description

A black face and throat, blue-grey wings, back and tail, and white underparts. Juveniles resemble adults, but the black is reduced to an eye stripe. Juveniles look very similar to White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes, Coracina papuensis, which also have a black eye stripe but are a lot smaller. Head to tail length of up to 35 cm.

Biology

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are neither shrikes nor cuckoos, but get their name from having a similar bill shape as the shrikes, while their feathers resemble the pattern of cuckoo feathers. They can form large flocks of up to a hundred birds during the non-breeding season. They often pair with the same partner each year, even using the same breeding territory. Considering their size, their nest is quite small and is bound together with spider webs. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes eat insects and other invertebrates, which they catch on the ground or in flight. They also eat seeds and fruits. The birds are partially nomadic, moving in response to the seasons. They are often seen perched on power lines. After landing they typically shuffle their wings.

Distribution

Mainland Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Habitat

Woodlands, forests, scrublands and urban areas.

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