White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike finds a meal

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike with lunch

Cuckoo-shrikes, both White-bellied and Black-faced, are occasional visitors to our garden. This one is the former, Coracina papuensis. 

Yes, it has a black face, but the real Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, C. novaehollandiae, have more black on their face – compare them here. And no, it is neither a cuckoo (Cuculidae) nor a shrike (Laniidae) but is in another family, Campephagidae,  with the Trillers; Wikipedia (previous link) speculates that the ‘cuckoo’ part of their common name may come from a superficial resemblance to some cuckoos.

Common names are unreliable guides to appearance, behaviour or family affiliations, particularly here in Australia where the first European settlers met hosts of strange birds and animals and applied the nearest old-world names to them.

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