White-winged Chough
Fledgling, with down exposed
White-winged Chough
Profile Mud Nest
White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Chordates (Chordata) - Birds (Aves)
Order: Perching Birds (Passeriformes)
Family: Australian Mud-nester (Corcoracidae)     iNaturalist Observation
Species: White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)
This Photo:     Mud Nest, with Fledglings & Guard
Other name: Bush Chicken

Thank you David Muirhead for confirming the id of this species for us

EXTRA - Photo Specific Information:
You can see why they call them mud-nesters!
It's hard to believe, but the day after this photo was taken the chicks left the nest. Seen here with 2 fledglings and a parent standing by guarding them.
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
A dark red eye is only visible on the brightest of days.
The white wings are only visible when in flight as a band.
Very dark brown bird, normally looks black; but the brown can be seen in the right light.
Very timid; they post sentries to warn of danger.
Ellura has a flock of 30+ birds visit regularly. Very social.
Wayne calls them "Chickens of the Bush"; very apt.
We've seen them eat a small lizard (skink).

Recently Marie found an occupied nest and so I was lucky enough to get some close-up photo's of them. Due to this we now know that the exterior of the Sclera (white of the eye in humans) is pink. The interior of the Sclera (brown, green, blue, etc, in humans) is Deep Red. But in fledglings they are Brown.
We now have a nest outside our lounge room window. They're raising their 2nd brood in the same nest as I type (Sept 2022).
This species is unusual in that it is Near Threatened locally, but RARE at a State level.

They are getting some bad press because of a perception they "kidnap" birds from other flocks. This clearly isn't true, no hand-cuffs are involved! What a clan will do is try and bribe birds from another clan. This highlights a need for the birds to feel valued within a clan, else they'll go elsewhere. This is important behaviour as it creates genetic diversity. The whole clan helps raise a single brood of about 2 chicks; increasing success rate.

Copyright © 2014-2023 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 26-Aug-2014
This species is protected and classed as RA (Rare) under the National Parks & Wildlife, SA, Protection Act