Photo copyright Dave Watts
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are slender, medium-sized birds (310-350mm) with light blue-grey plumage, black face and throat and white underparts. The black wing feathers have pale edges. Sexes are similar, and young birds resemble the adults, except the black facial mask is reduced to an eye stripe. Despite their name, Cuckoo-shrikes are neither cuckoos nor shrikes.
The name is a reference to their feathers, which have similar patterns to those of cuckoos, and their beak which resembles that of shrikes.
The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is found in open forest, woodland, scrub, gardens and orchards.
The diet includes insects and other invertebrates. Some fruits and seeds are also eaten.
The nest is a surprisingly small shallow saucer of twigs and bark, bound together with cobwebs. Both partners construct the nest and care for the young birds.
The call is a soft, rolling churring and a higher pitched "chereer-chereer-chereer" in flight. (Audio recordings courtesy of David Stewart/Nature Sound
The Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is widespread and common throughout Australia, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
In Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands it is a common summer migrant, although some birds may overwinter.