White-winged Chough, Corcorax melanorhamphos Click to enlarge image
White-winged Chough, Corcorax melanorhamphos Image: anthonypaul

Fast Facts

  • IUCN Conservation Status
  • Classification
  • Size Range
    43 cm to 47 cm

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.

What do White-winged Choughs look like?


The White-winged Chough is a large, almost completely black bird. It has a curved beak, a red eye and a large white wing patch, which is seen when the bird is in flight. The bill and legs are black. Both male and female share the same plumage pattern. Young White-winged Choughs start off duskier than the adults, and the eye is brown. They do not reach sexual maturity until four years of age and, during this time, the eye changes from brown to orange and then to red, and the plumage darkens.

Where do White-winged Choughs live?


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 are found throughout most of eastern and south-eastern mainland Australia, but are absent from northern Queensland.

What do White-winged Choughs eat and how do they communicate?

Feeding and diet

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.


The White-winged Chough is often first noticed by a mournful, descending whistle. If disturbed, it gives a ratchet-like call.

What are White-winged Choughs breeding behaviours?

Breeding Behaviour/s

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.