Family Corcoracidae

There are only two species of this mud-nesting family, the Apostlebird and the White-winged Chough, with only the latter appearing in the ACT. They are strongly gregarious birds that feed mainly on the ground. They are aggressive to possible predators, and are cooperative breeders in that a single nest may have eggs laid by a number of females, and the rearing of the young is a communal activity. Acting as a family group they make large deep mud nests on horizontal branches, lined with feathers and fine grass, containing up to eight eggs. Their playful behaviour as a group is interesting and sometimes amusing.


White-winged Chough

Corcorax melanorhamphos


White-winged Choughs are cooperative birds with a complex social structure, so are usually seen in groups (average group size of about eight). They forage for insects and small prey, normally in leaf litter in woodlands. They are fairly common around Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie, The Australian National University, and the University of Canberra. Small groups are sometimes seen foraging around office blocks in Civic.

From a minimum in October, numbers build steadily to a peak in May, followed by a more rapid decline. Numbers have increased markedly over the past decade.

Choughs build large mud nests and have an extended period of caring for nestlings and fledglings. Most choughs have left the suburbs by the end of October to breed in larger reserve areas. As young fledge and family groups need a wider area to forage, they move back through the suburbs. Most breeding records are of dependent young from late September to late May. R=49. BR=27.