Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike

Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike

Quick Facts

Length: 33 cm
Height: -
Weight: 112 grams
Colour: Black face and throat. Blue-grey back, wings and tail with white underparts
Habitat: Found is almost any wooded area wtih exception of rainforests. Can be found in many urban areas
Food: Insects and other invertebrates. Some fruits and seeds are also eaten
Predators: -
Status: Secure in all states and territories in Australia
Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike
Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike Facial Features

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes have a black face and throat, blue-grey back, wings and tail, and white underparts. They are slender, attractive birds. They have a curious habit of shuffling their wings upon landing, a practice that gave rise to the name "Shufflewing", which is often used for this species. This shuffling is also carried out by most other species in this family. Young birds resemble the adults, except the black facial mask is reduced to an eye stripe.

Cuckoo-shrikes are neither cuckoos nor shrikes, but are so called becaues their feathers have similar patterns to those of cuckoos and their beak shape resembles that of shrikes.

Young Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes may be confused with the White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, which also has a black eye stripe. However, this species is much smaller (26 - 28 cm).

The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is widespread and common. Outside the breeding season, large family groups and flocks of up to a hundred birds form.

The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is found in almost any wooded habitat, with the exception of rainforests. It is also familiar in many suburbs, where birds are often seen perched on overhead wires or television aerials.

Partially nomadic; some northwards migrations.

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes feed on 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.

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.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Wednesday 17th July, 2013


Signup for our monthly newsletter the "e-Telegraph"