Happy New Year! Yes this is finally a new post for 2010!
I have been having camera and computer problems which is most annoying however I managed to get some photos of recent ‘visitors’ to our neighbourhood. Both these birds are cuckoos – a parasitic bird that does not build its own nest or raise its own young. The female lays its eggs in the nests of other smaller birds like the Magpie-lark. The young cuckoo then either kicks out the other eggs/baby birds or the smaller young die from starvation as the much bigger cuckoo is first to take all the food. These two species – the Common Koel and Channel billed Cuckoo migrate from the New Guinea region in about September/October and return North about March.
Since before Christmas we have the almost continual call of the Common Koel Eudynamys scolopacea – or ‘stormbird’ in the large figtrees close by. It has been most elusive to photograph (besides the cantakerous camera that I need to send away to get fixed – I am not looking forward to this as you can imagine something that HAS to be photographed will most certainly happen whilst it is away…sigh…) but I managed this afternoon to get some photos.
This is a male Common Koel – they are all black with a distinctive red eye. The second photo shows it making its distinctive call. I have always loved their calls and don’t really mind it going all day and night. My dad tells me they have really lovely soft pink eggs that are speckled. The male Common Koel’s role is to annoy the birds in the area of a nest and when he has distracted the other birds and drawn them away, the female flies in and lays her eggs into the foster parent’s nest.
…he also has some impressive striped tail feathers as you can see…
As well as this we have had a visiting Channel Billed Cuckoo –Scythrops novaehollandiae – unlike the lovely storm bird call, the channel billed cuckoo screeches and their fighting at night has often woken me up. This particular cuckoo came screeching in yesterday dive bombing the Common Koel until it chased it off.
The photos are a little grainy as it was at the top of a huge old fig tree. These birds are very big and impressive with their toucan-like beaks. It must have felt very proud surveying those below – and the much smaller birds around it after it’s victory over the Koel! It then proceeded to preen and intermittently screech seeming most proud of itself!
It also has some lovely tail feathers.
A closer look at a channel billed cuckoo.