The White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis is a handsome and moderately common woodland resident around Newstead. The Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve at Clydesdale is a place where it can be see reliably, breeding there each year.
I spotted this pair earlier in the week, fluttering and calling in a pre-nuptial display, amongst the Long-leaf Box trees at Zumpe’s Lane. They have lovely, lyrical calls – more melodic than their larger relative, the Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, which can be found in the same habitat.
I’m always in intrigued to learn about the derivation of scientific names. The genus Coracina, which includes the cuckoo-shrikes and cicada-birds, contains more than 40 species found from Africa, through to its stronghold in Australasia and the Pacific Islands. Coracina is Latin for raven-black – many of the species in this genus are dark coloured. Papuensis, like many species epithets provides a geographical descriptor – the White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike has a number of races, or sub-species, extending north from our continent to Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. It was first described in 1788 from a specimen collected in the Papuan region.
There you go!