- Colour: Blue-grey with a black face and throat. Its underparts are a white, washed grey. Its tail is broadly margined black, with a white tip.
- Size: 30 – 36 cm.
- Call: A loud sharp churring. It is harsh yet musical and often starts quite high then falls.
- Diet: Insects and other invertebrates. These may be caught in the air, taken from foliage or caught on the ground. In addition to insects, some fruits and seeds are also eaten.
- Flight: Strong and undulating. Restless lifting of the folded wings on landing can help with identification.
- Breeding: Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes may mate with the same partner each year, and may use the same territories year after year. The nest is remarkably small for the size of the bird. It is a shallow saucer of sticks and bark, bound together with cobwebs. Both partners construct the nest and care for the young birds.
What to Observe
- Bird on chicks
- Bird on eggs
- Bird on nest
- Bird feeding young
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
We expect birds to start breeding and singing earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth.
When To Look
- August to February, for breeding activity.
Where To Look
- Across Australia.
- In a wide variety of habitats; look in rainforests, forests, woodlands, scrublands, timber along watercourses, orchards, parks and gardens.
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis): its black mask extends back only to its eye, while in the Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike it extends back behind the eye to its ear-coverts. It also lacks the black throat, has faint grey barring on its breast and has a different call. Its is also much smaller at 26 - 28 cm.
Did You Know?
Cuckoo-shrikes are neither cuckoos nor shrikes, but are so called because their feathers have similar patterns to those of cuckoos and their beak shape resembles that of shrikes.