Distinguishing between Pied currawongs: question

To: 'Canberra Birds' <>
Subject: Distinguishing between Pied currawongs: question
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2019 23:15:54 +0000

Given the information that Mark supplied and of course the background that to obtain these banding approvals, there would surely need to be a reasonably solid basis for doing the study requiring the colour banding and what Denise revealed, which is hardly surprising, suggesting that catching and banding Currawongs would be at best very challenging. I reckon that puts an adverse context to my answer to Rick’s request for an easy method to distinguish these birds……. There isn’t. I wonder if putting leg bands on birds with many mites on their legs would be allowable / acceptable. It may make it worse. Just guessing. If the mite infestation on feet is relevant to Rick’s original question (I don’t know if it is), then it would be a targeted and biased bit of sampling.




From: Denise Kay [ Sent: Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 7:57 AM To: Canberra Birds            Subject: [canberrabirds] Distinguishing between Pied currawongs: question


It took residents 3 weeks to catch this one from Ainslie. After a month of basting the legs with oil to smother the mites . Edward the Currawong went back to Ainslie last Saturday . The legs are very thin and scared you can see how long the nails have grown under the infestation requiring clipping. A cranky and vicious bird drawing blood at any opportunity . I have no idea if the mites are painful .


Denise Kay

Flying Fox Coordinator

ACT Wildlife


You can't colour band any bird species without specific approval from the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Schemes and the ACT Parks and Conservation mob. As Philip has said, they are pretty well impossible to tell apart but males are slightly bigger. Physical deformities can sometimes be of use with individual birds as Con said.


On 9/09/2019 6:00 pm, Philip Veerman wrote:

I don’t know of any visible difference not even between M & F. It comes down to your word “easily”. The standard answer is by banding them with colour bands. However there are so many it would be a big task.



On 9 Sep 2019, at 5:35 pm, Con Boekel <> wrote:



I am not sure in general but some of the birds in the ACT have a mite infestation on their feet which tends to be differently developed in different birds. There was one bird that used to visit one of the dams in Campbell Park regularly that could be identified by the distribution of the deformities on its feet. These might have hurt because the bird was in the habit of lifting one its legs and tucking it under the feathers.




On 9/9/2019 5:27 PM, Rick Kuhn wrote:

Pied currawongs or a Pied currawong visit one of our birdbaths one at a time, i.e. there is not a group hanging around, very often. Is there any way to easily distinguish Pied currawong individuals from each other?






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