Family Australian Mudnesters (Corcoracidae)

Least Concern

Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea)


French: Apôtre gris German: Aposteltöpferkrähe Spanish: Corvino apóstol

Struthidea cinerea


, 1837,

interior of New South Wales, Australia


Races intergrade in NC Queensland. Isolated population in Northern Territory formerly thought to represent a distinct race, but now considered identical to that in N Queensland. Although name swainsoni pre-dates dalyi, former regarded as invalid as description and measurements of type specimen ambiguous and possibly based on intermediate specimen, and type locality (N Queensland) imprecise and could lie within zone of intergradation with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. dalyi Mathews, 1923 – N Northern Territory (mainly S of Roper R) and N & NC Queensland, in N Australia.
  • S. c. cinerea Gould, 1837 – C & S Queensland, inland New South Wales, N Victoria (along Murray R) and E South Australia (mainly N of Murray R).
  • Descriptive notes

    29–33 cm; 110–155 g. Distinctive, with rather pointed feathers on head and neck giving shaggy appearance, and long dark tail; short, deep bill similar to that of... read more


    Very vocal. Range of generally harsh, scolding or squeaky calls, including "kreech" as a... read more


    Open habitats, especially arid and semi-arid woodlands, or shrublands with scattered trees. Bold... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet chiefly seeds and insects; also takes eggs from nests of other birds, and small mammals taken occasionally. Forages on the ground, and... read more


    Laying in Aug–Feb (in austral spring-summer), but may breed in response to rain at other times in drier areas; often two broods. Co-... read more


    Sedentary; group territorial in breeding season, at other times wanders over larger home range (to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread, and locally fairly common. Range had expanded to N; decline in E & SE, where clearance for agriculture has destroyed woodland habitat... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2018). Apostlebird (Struthidea cinerea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 11 December 2018).