Here’s the tip

I’ve been surprised by the number of Pied Currawongs in Newstead this season. The past few years have been marked by small numbers passing through fleetingly – this winter it appears they’ll hang around. Garden fruits are one of the attractions – both introduced and native. A small party was feeding on Ruby Saltbush in our yard last weekend. The birds were too wary to allow me to catch them in the act – I wonder if that hooked tip on the beak is of some value when harvesting the saltbush fruits? Grey Currawongs lack this feature – it has a pointed beak – click here for proof.

Curra1

Pied Currawong, Newstead, 22nd May 2016

Saltbush

The beautiful fruits of Ruby Saltbush

Curra2

Our other local Currawong lacks the hooked tip of its Pied cousin

Curra3

With its eye on the prize

Curra4

II

 

4 responses to “Here’s the tip

  1. Geoff, we seldom see Pied Currawongs here, but our resident Grey Currawong loves the fruit on our Ruby Saltbushes, and it’s a delight to watch this big bird daintily picking the fruit, and downing it with a little toss, catch and swallow!

  2. Ah, I’d never noticed that bill hook being different between the species. The pied’s reminds me of a butcherbird’s bill. Wonder whether it is adapted for meat eating? I’ve seen grey currawongs on cherry ballart and decimating our baby tomatoes, no problems there is throwing down small tasty objects!

  3. We have planted and direct seeded lots of Ruby Saltbush at our Violet Town property and the Diamond Firetails love them.
    Diamond Firetails like to feed on the berries of salt bushes in the autumn as a protein source when they are moulting. We now have good numbers of Diamond Firetails all year round and we think the Ruby Saltbush will help this to continue.

    • Hi Libby – that’s a great note. We have Diamond Firetails locally but I’ve never seen them in the home garden – hopefully the saltbush may entice a visit.

      Cheers, geoff

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