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Black currawong in heavy rain (Tasmania) | by |kris|
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Black currawong in heavy rain (Tasmania)

The black currawong (Strepera fuliginosa fuliginosa), also known locally as the black jay, is a large passerine bird endemic to Tasmania and the nearby islands within the Bass Strait. Other common names include sooty currawong, black bell-magpie, black or mountain magpie, black or sooty crow-shrike, and muttonbird.

 

It is a large crow-like bird, about 50 cm (20 in) long, with an 80 cm wingspan, yellow irises, a heavy black bill, and black plumage with white patches at the tips of the wings and tail feathers. The male and female are similar in appearance. Although crow-like in appearance and habits, currawongs are only distantly related to true crows, and are instead closely related to the Australian magpie and the butcherbirds.

 

The habitat includes densely forested areas as well as alpine heathland. The bird is uncommon or absent in areas below 200 meter altitude. At altitude the black currawong occurs in alpine scrubland and heathland.

 

The black currawong is a loud and vocal species, and makes a variety of calls. Its main call has been described as a combination of alternating kar and wheek sounds, killok killok, or even akin to part song and part human laughter. Before or around dawn and at nightfall appear to be periods of increased calling, and birds are reported to be more vocal before rain or storms.

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Taken on December 23, 2014