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Common Name: Apostlebird
Scientific Name: Geopelia cuneata

Size: 13 inches (33 cm)

Habitat: Australia; Endemic--range is across inland eastern Australia, from the mallee regions of northern Victoria and eastern South Australia, north through New South Wales and central-western Queensland to the Gulf Country. There is an isolated population in the Northern Territory. Dry open woodland is the preferred habitat, especially Callitris in New South Wales and Casuarina in Queensland, and Lancewood-Bulwaddi communities in the Northern Territory.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: unknown.

Diet: Insects and seeds; eating them at, or near, ground level.

Nesting: Apostlebirds are a communal species with each family group generally containing only one breeding pair, the rest being their helper offspring. All family members help construct a mud nest, and share in incubation of the eggs. Once the eggs are hatched, all members of the family group also help feed the chicks and keep the nest clean.

Breeding season is from August to December. The nest is a deep cup-shaped structure made of grasses held together with mud or sometimes manure in a tree fork up to seven or eight meters above the ground. Three to five pale blue-white eggs sparsely splotched with brown and lavender shades are laid measuring 22 mm x 29 mm. Thye are tapered oval in shape

Cool Facts: Apostlebirds often travel in groups of about 12; for this reason they were named after the Biblical apostles, the twelve chief followers of Jesus Christ. They also tend to perch closely to each other creating an avian version of DaVinci’s” Last Supper”. The species travel in family groups of between 6 and 20, which may coalesce with other family groups into large feeding flocks of over 40.

Due to their gregarious nature, and harsh scolding and grating calls, they have developed a plethora of other colloquial names. They are also known locally as “Lousy Jacks” (due to heavy louse infestations), “Happy Jacks”, “Happy Families”, “Grey Jumpers” and the “CWA Birds”. The latter name is derogatory, referring to the supposed resemblance of the bird’s constant chatter to a “Country Women's Association” meeting.

Found in Songbird ReMix Australia Volume II

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