Larger than its more common relative the Pied Currawong, the Grey Currawong is around 50 centimetres long and a dark sooty grey colour with white under the tail and wing patches, yellow eyes and a strong bill, curved at the tip.
There are 6 different races spread around Australia. They vary a great deal and most were at one time considered separate species:
- the most common mid to dark grey form, race versicolor, known as the Grey Currawong
- the grey-brown form of South Australia, race intermedia, also known as the Brown Currawong
- the darkest race from Tasmania, race arguta, known as the Clinking Currawong or locally as the Black Magpie.
- the Black winged Currawong, race melanoptera, from western Victoria’s mallee region, can be difficult to distinguish from the Black and Pied Currawongs at any distance.
- Kangaroo Island has its own race, halmaturina.
- The race plumbea occurs from western South Australia west through southern Western Australia.
All Grey Currawongs, however, have a distinctive ringing call and a more sharply pointed, finer bill.
Distribution and habitat
Grey Currawongs are found right across the southern part of Australia from the Sydney area south and west around the coast and hinterland as far as the fertile south-west corner of Western Australia and the semi-arid country surrounding it. Outlying populations are found on the east coast of Tasmania and, oddly, in the arid area where the Northern Territory meets South Australia and Western Australia.