Channel-billed Cuckoo fending off Australian Miners
The call of the Channel-billed Cuckoo announces that spring has arrived. These large, ugly, yet splendid birds arrive in Eastern Australia in early spring every year, returning from their seasonal migration to Indonesia and New Guinea.
They’re the largest cuckoos in the world, at a length of around 60 cm and a wingspan of 1 metre. Yet, despite their size, they’re cowed by the little Australian Miner (length 25 cm, wingspan 40 cm). To those who know Australian birds, this isn’t surprising. The Miner, also known as the Noisy Miner, is aggressive and fearless, attacking birds and animals far larger than itself.
In this video you can hear the pesky Australian Miners chirping and heckling, and the cuckoo hissing and groaning in response:
This video shows a couple of Noisy Miners dive-bombing the cuckoo:
Here’s the cuckoo in a moment of quiet contemplation. Note the red eyes and the large, curved beak:
A view of the cuckoo from behind, surrounded by gum tree flowers:
Common name: Channel-billed Cuckoo
Scientific name: Scythrops novaehollandiae
Approximate length: 58-65 cm
Date spotted: 8 October 2016
Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Latitude/longitude: 33°46’59.1″S 151°15’09.5″E