The clash of the Coracinas

Locally we have two species of cuckoo-shrike, The White-bellied (or Little) Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis and the more familiar Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae. Both frequent similar habitat, the smaller species is less common and tends to favour fertile drainage lines. Both are specialist insectivores, preying largely on canopy insects including caterpillars.

Last Saturday I observed an aggressive encounter between a pair of C.papuensis and a number of C.novaehollandiae, as the smaller species were defending the territory around their nest site. Both adults were involved in nest-building, a partially constructed shallow bowl in a horizontal fork of a Grey Box.


White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Plunkett’s Road Newstead, 17th October 2015.


Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.


The arrival of the Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes provoked this reaction from their smaller relative.


With shredded bark above the nest site.


White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike nest building.


Above the nest again – this time with a small twig.


Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (immature) at take-off.

* Coracina Gr. korakinos little raven.

3 responses to “The clash of the Coracinas

  1. The last pic appears to be an immature BF Cuckoo-Shrike

  2. Good call Michael – you’re right … bit clumsy of me to miss this … will correct in post
    Cheers, geoff

  3. Hi Geoff, I have been watching this post and comments with interest as I find the whole immature BFCS vs adult White-bellied challenging – unless they are calling of course! So the first image – is that an adult white-bellied Cuckoo-shrike? Is it a dark morph? The illustration in Pizzey doesn’t have barring or streaking for the adult eastern form. I see them in the area as in the third pic – all neat with a short black mask. many thanks : )

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