11 comments on “Not Chuffed about Kidnapping Birds – The White-winged Chough

  1. I thought the bird is Asian Koel mistaking its red eyes at the first instance, until I saw their white underwings and the videos. Lovely videos and write up! Kidnapping behavior sounds eerie though.

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    • Yes they do look some like a male Koel, Bindyamc, except for the beak and their classic foraging walking behaviour and flock culture. Non-birders just pass them by thinking they are Crows or Ravens, they get excited when they see us get excited and realize they have mistakenly identified the bird. I usually pick them up from the way they walk from a distance. Yes the kidnapping behaviour is to maintain their family and breeding protocol when their tribe has deficient numbers to maintain egg incubation in shifts, and feeding schedules, as they have quite an elaborate social and family structure.

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      • Yes, I did notice their walking style and flock formation that’s unlike a Koel, it was interesting to read. I appreciate their survival strategies. Thanks for sharing!


    • Thanks Donna, yes these birds do have a rather desperate way of maintaining their breed, but several bird species like these rely on having enough in the clan or family group to incubate the eggs and care for and defend them. Have a wonderful weekend also my friend! 🙂

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  2. I do have to say, in my ignorance of this species, that they do look like some sort of chicken-crow as they fly! Thanks for highlighting another species and broadening my birding world! William — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104 The Message

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    • Thanks William, I continually fascinated with our birds as I explore their behaviour and see how the Lord has given each its own peculiar social structure. We use to be made think birds were stupid creatures but we know this is far from the truth. Yes, and what a beautifully descriptive psalm of our majestic Creator you shared from. I love the part: ‘He makes the clouds his chariot
      and rides on the wings of the wind’. He is our SuperGod! Glorious in his majesty! The whole Creation declares his worthiness to receive all glory, honor and power. Thanks William for stirring my spirit to praise 🙂


    • Thanks Lee, yes it is a very unusual family structure in these birds, and the struggle for survival is very real for many of the birds in the dryer regions of our country. The interesting facts from research that I have learnt is that there is a much higher rate of birds which do not succeed in breeding to those that do. Only a small percentage of birds actually produce live young each season. It is a struggle for many of them for many reasons. The Magpie experience the same as do many other species and they overcome it by employing family members both immediate or extended, and when these are low in number they steal from other clans.

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  3. Great series Ashley.
    I spend at much time with these birds as I can, and I still have to say, I know very little at all about their character. I’ve sat quietly in Grey Box forest on a log, while the family has hunted all around and over the log alongside me. I once saw about 4 large family groups, 50-60 birds, arrive in the one spot, the air was filled with those calls, and strangely, (choughly?), they formed a large circle around one bird, and were very quiet, and it seemed to give them a lecture about something, with much nodding of heads and tail wagging. Then after a few more greetings among the groups they all went their separate ways.
    Most times when they are feeding, there always seems to be one bird in the trees, (a sentry?) and after 10 minutes or so one other flies up to take its place. Curious.
    As you say, they communal nest, but the fun part is watching the discussion at brooding change over time, “my turn, no my turn, no, no, my turn” seems to be the order of the day. 🙂
    As you point out. The young are so gullible, and quite unable to look after themselves for a long time. Anyone with a better food offer gets their allegiance. No wonder the adults spend so much time defending them.

    Great stories and lovely to see the runs of video.
    Keep up the high standard.

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    • Thanks David, and thanks so much for sharing your own special personal encounters, they are quite fascinating. Similar to the Magies there is a lot more to them then we realize. So interesting about the lecture circle, I have so much more to learn, and it just makes life all the more enjoyable. it is good to see rain and cooler days again. I just saw an areal view of Kangaroo Islands Flinders Chase NP it is so devastated, yet green shoots are coming out of blackened trees everywhere, a sign of hope and better days ahead. Enjoy your week:-)


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