Family Australian Mudnesters (Corcoracidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)


French: Corbicrave leucoptère German: Drosseltöpferkrähe Spanish: Corvino negro

Coracia melanoramphos


, 1817,

New South Wales, Australia


Races intergrade in SE South Australia (in and just E of Mt Lofty Ranges), and species sometimes treated as monotypic. Proposed race subniger (Ringwood, in Victoria) included in nominate. Spelling of species name has recently been formally emended to melanorhamphos, following application#R to ICZN, even though claimed “prevailing usage” is now far from clear; melanorhamphos is not the original spelling, despite claims to the contrary#R. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. melanorhamphos (Vieillot, 1817) – E Australia from E half of Queensland (S from region of Clarke Range) S to New South Wales (except NW), Victoria (mainly N of Great Dividing Range) and SE South Australia (Mt Lofty Ranges).
  • C. m. whiteae Mathews, 1912 – S & SE South Australia (Eyre Peninsula and Mt Lofty Ranges).
  • Descriptive notes

    44–50 cm; 280–425 g. Nominate race has plumage entirely black, except for white wingpanel (c. 8 cm; visible only in flight) across most of primaries; some... read more


    Clear piping whistle, usually descending in pitch and ventriloquial; also a variety of harsher... read more


    Open habitats, mainly eucalypt (Eucalyptus) woodlands and open forests in which canopy is... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide range of seeds and insects; insects predominate in summer, and seeds in winter. Also occasionally small mammals and bivalve molluscs.... read more


    Laying in Sept–Dec (in austral spring and early summer), but can breed after rain at other times in drier areas; sometimes two broods... read more


    Sedentary, wandering over large home range of c. 1000 ha in non-breeding season, with stable... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Widespread, but never common; South Australian race whiteae rare. Rather sparsely distributed, as groups require large home range and,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rowley, I. & Russell, E. (2019). White-winged Chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos). 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 17 February 2019).