White-winged Chough

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Habitat: Woodland, Forest, Wetland


White-winged Choughs are found in open forests and woodlands. They tend to prefer the wetter areas, with lots of leaf-litter, for feeding, and available mud for nest building.


White-winged Choughs usually occur in flocks of up to 20 birds, though sometimes many more may congregate during the non-breeding season. Flocks are composed of breeding adults and non-breeding helpers, at least some of which are young from earlier broods, and flocks often also contain birds that have been kidnapped from other groups of choughs. Members of these groups co-operate to assist with building nests and feeding and brooding the nestlings and fledgelings. When disturbed, the group usually flies into nearby trees, calling noisily.

White-winged Choughs live in social clans of about seven to ten individuals and will defend their nest territory during the breeding season with ‘wing-waving’ displays to deter unwanted intruders.


The White-winged Chough feeds mostly on the ground. It is extremely sociable, almost always seen in groups of up to 10, raking through the grass and ground litter. Food consists of insects and some seeds. Large feeding territories are kept, which are often up to 1000 ha in size.


White-winged Choughs stay in medium to large social flocks throughout the breeding season. These groups normally consist of only one breeding pair, the other birds being offspring from previous years. The young birds take four years to reach breeding maturity and stay with the parents during this time. The young birds help with nest building, incubation and feeding of chicks. The nest of the White-winged Chough is a large bowl of mud, which is built on a horizontal branch within 15 m of the ground. It may take several months to build if there is insufficient rain to moisten the mud. If there is a lack of mud, birds may use cattle or Emu dung. The eggs are cream-coloured, with large brown spots. When the chicks first leave the nest, they are not able to fly, and are easy prey for feral cats and foxes. The young birds are able to fly as strongly as their parents after another 28 days. Parties of Choughs are known to kidnap young birds from neighbouring groups.