Struthidea cinerea

Apostlebird. Photo: John Gitsham

Apostlebirds are found in garrulous groups of from 3-20 birds. Many of these are about twelve in number, hence the common name. They are ground feeders living mainly on seeds and insects, but will also take leaves, shoots, small mammals and the eggs of birds.


They are co-operative breeders with one breeding pair, the rest of the group being helpers. Breeding occurs in the spring and summer (from August to February). They build a mud nest similar but smaller, than that of White-winged Choughs, being a mud bowl reinforced with grass and twigs. The group is sedentary during the breeding season but otherwise wanders over a larger home range.




Apostlebirds are medium-sized, grey, dumpy birds with a longish, rounded tail, short wings burnished dark brown, and a sturdy finch-like, black beak. Sexes are alike.

Where to find it

Apostlebirds thrive in a wide variety of arid and semi-arid woodlands. In South Australia, they are mainly to be found in such habitats from the Flinders and Mid-north regions, west to the Victorian border and north of the Murray River. Some groups are also found in the upper Eyre Peninsula and Gawler Ranges.