Monday, October 09, 2006

Common Koel

Image from: John Gould (1804-81) The birds of Australia 1840-48. 7 vols. 600 plates Artists: J. Gould and E. Gould; Lithographer: E. Gould.

Feather (female primary) � Australian Museum

Feather (female body) � Australian Museum

Common Koel. Photo: AD Trounson/Nature Focus � Australian Museum

Common Koel Egg � Australian Museum

Eudynamys scolopacea

When seen, the male Common Koel is easily identified by its entirely glossy black plumage, tinged with blue and green, and striking red eye. The female has glossed brown upperparts, heavily spotted with white, and a black crown. The underparts are generally buff-cream with numerous fine black bars. Young birds resemble the adult female, but have considerably more buff and a dark eye. The Common Koel is 39 to 46 cm in length, and is a member of the cuckoo family. Adults are rather shy and they are heard much more than seen. The male Common Koel advertises its presence by a loud ascending whistle "coo-ee" or "ko-el", monotonously repeated; the call of the female is a repetitive "wook-wook-wook...". Males often call throughout the day and well into the night.

In contrast to the adults, fledglings can be very conspicuous as they beg loudly for food from their foster parents.

Another member of the genus is the Long-tailed Cuckoo, Eudynamys taitensis, of New Zealand, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. This bird somewhat resembles the female Common Koel in plumage.

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