Cuckoo Shrikes

Family Campephagidae

Cuckoo-shrikes and trillers (Family Campephagidae) are medium sized arboreal birds of quite striking appearance and inhabit the upper branches of eucalypt woodland and forest. Cuckoo-shrikes are elegant birds, generally of grey, black and white, which characteristically refold their wings a number of times on landing in a tree. Their purposeful undulating flight is reminiscent of the cuckoo, while the broadened bill is similar to that of old-world shrikes – hence the name. However, they are related to neither. The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is a regular visitor to Canberra gardens, while the White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (14 records) and the Cicadabird (2) are much less so.


Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

Coracina novaehollandiae

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are common summer inhabitants of ACT woodlands. They forage in trees, and sometimes over open paddocks, for caterpillars, other insects, and occasionally fruit. They fly from tree to tree, often alighting on a prominent vantage perch from where they can pounce on their prey. Their call is a repeated shirring noise.
As partial migrants they are present throughout the year but in lower numbers in winter. A small dip between October and March results from some birds leaving the suburbs to breed. Numbers have declined throughout the years of the survey.
Most breeding records are of nesting from about mid-November to early January, and dependent young from December to mid-April. A breeding cycle of about 14 weeks is suggested. R=15. BR=18.