The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is July's bird of the month
The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is one of the most widespread and commonly seen birds in Australia. It is neither a cuckoo nor a shrike but has been named for physical attributes reminiscent of each family. It is also commonly known as the “Blue Jay”, although actual Blue Jays are not found in Australia. Another, and perhaps more appropriate name commonly used is ”Shufflewing”, from its habit of shuffling its wings alternately up and down whenever it lands.
The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is grey through the back, wings and tail, and white on the underparts. The feathers along the edge of the wings are darker, barred with a lighter grey. The face and throat are black, with the throat fading to grey into the upper breast. They are a medium sized bird with a distinctive, undulating manner of flight, flapping their wings to gain height, then folding them back to glide forward and down before flying back up and repeating the pattern.
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are widely distributed, being found in wooded areas throughout Australia except for dense rainforest and the aridest deserts. Outside of their breeding season, they may form into large flocks and migrate as far as eastern Indonesia, New Guinea, Melanesia and across to New Zealand. They have been very successful in adapting to urban environments and are commonly seen in our parks and gardens.
Located in the Parklands:
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes can be seen at all times of the year in Centennial Park, either flying in their lazy, undulating style or perching on some exposed roost in the tree canopy. Their call, a yodelling like trill, can be heard at a distance and will help to locate them in the park. They are often seen flying between the Lachlan Swamp and the islands of the Duck and Willow Ponds but may be seen at times anywhere around the park.
This information was curated by a team of passionate Centennial Parklands volunteers. Find out more about our volunteer programs here.