Family New World Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Least Concern

Austral Blackbird (Curaeus curaeus)


French: Carouge austral German: Strichelkopfstärling Spanish: Tordo patagón

Turdus Curæus


, 1782,



Similar in aspect and behaviour to Gnorimopsar chopi, but molecular data suggest closer relationship with quite different Amblyramphus holosericeus. Geographical variation partly clinal, body mass increasing N–S. Proposed race recurvirostris (described from Riesco I, in S Chile), resembling reynoldsi but supposedly with slightly recurved bill, requires further study, as observers have not reported peculiarities in bill shape. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. curaeus (Molina, 1782) – C & S Chile from Coquimbo (rarely Atacama) S, including Chiloé I and most islands along coast, to Straits of Magellan, and SW Argentina (Neuquén S along Andes to Santa Cruz).
  • C. c. reynoldsi (W. L. Sclater, 1939) – S Chile and extreme S Argentina (Tierra del Fuego and nearby islands).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male average 26·8 cm and 83·3 g, female average 82·9 g (nominate, SW Argentina); male 114·6 g, female 99·1 g (reynoldsi). A large blackbird with long bill noticeably... read more


    Song distinctive, a slow repetition of trills and hollow squeaky whistles mixed with “koo-ree-teeoo... read more


    Mesic Mediterranean-type scrub and woodland in C Chile, mostly in valley bottoms, also open... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous, consuming insects, aquatic invertebrates, small vertebrates, seeds, fruits, some nectar (from the bromeliad Puya).... read more


    Season Oct–Dec; three nests in Argentina (Victoria I, on L Nahuel Huapi) contained incubated eggs or recently hatched chicks in mid-Dec.... read more


    Largely resident. Some movement apparent; nominate race recorded as accidental in S Mendoza (WC... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common and widespread in much of range; less common in Tierra del Fuego. Tolerates, and even benefits from, moderate transformations of natural... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fraga, R. (2020). Austral Blackbird (Curaeus curaeus). 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 29 February 2020).