Cuckoos are back in town

They’re noisy creatures, but I love it when the cuckoos arrive in Sydney. They herald the start of spring. They also send the local birds into a tizzy. Territorial disputes abound. The kookaburras have a rival for their 5am wake-up duties. And the noisy miners have another large bird to terrorise.

The cuckoos are migratory, spending the warmer half the year in Australia and the cooler half in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and other northern climes. Two types of cuckoos make themselves known in our neighbourhood by their loud calls: the Channel-billed Cuckoos and the Koel Cuckoos.

Channel-billed Cuckoo

The Channel-billed Cuckoos are the largest cuckoos in the world. With their red eyes and large beaks, they’re an impressive sight. Today I was lucky to see one reasonably close by, and I was amazed by the way it moves. This one was being bothered by a noisy miner. The cuckoo was constantly bending and wriggling its neck to try and spot its tormentor. At the end of the video, you’ll see it looking up in alarm then disappearing with a flash of its tail, as the much smaller miner dive-bombs it.

Here’s a still photo of the same cuckoo peering out from underneath a canopy of leaves:

Channel-billed Cuckoo

In this one, the cuckoo is looking reasonable relaxed but on the alert for attack:


And here it’s definitely wary:


Common name: Channel-billed Cuckoo

Scientific name: Scythrops novaehollandiae

Approximate length: 58-65 cm

Date spotted: 1 November 2015

Season: Summer

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’13.9″S 151°15’39.2″E

Koel Cuckoo

Then there are the Koel Cuckoos, like this one who came calling recently:

Here’s a photo of the Koel Cuckoo in full throat:

Koel cuckoo

Common name: Common Koel or Eastern Koel

Scientific name: Eudynamys scolopacea

Approximate length: 45 cm

Date spotted: 11 October 2015

Season: Summer

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’13.9″S 151°15’39.2″E


About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 2015/11/01, in Birds, Cuckoo and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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