Birds on summer holiday

You may not recognise the appearance of the Eastern Koel in this short video of Tim Sigg's, but if you watch it through to the end, there's a good chance you'll recognise the bird's call as one you've heard recently.

Eastern Koel Calling * 

Eastern Koels visit Australia from Indonesia and New Guinea for an annual Summer vacation. They holiday along our Eastern seaboard, as far South as Victoria. They are here to breed right now and will stay till around April. 

There is some speculation that climate change is extending their range further South. Interestingly, the further South they travel, the earlier they return home from vacation.

The Eastern Koel (Eudynamys orientalis) is a cuckoo and in true cuckoo fashion it is a brood parasite. It lays its eggs in the nests of other species - generally local birds such as wattlebirds and figbirds. When the cuckoo chick hatches it forces the eggs and chicks of the resident birds out, and the parents of the resident bird take responsibility for feeding the invader.  

The Eastern Koel is a striking bird. The male has glossy black plumage with red eyes, whilst the female is spotted black and white. They are generally shy of people so are usually heard more than they are seen! We are grateful therefore to Carson Dron for sharing his lovely photo of a female, taken in September at Anstead. 

To learn more about our summer visitor, please visit our Catchment Field Guide and scroll down to the Eastern Koel. You will see more local photos, together with links to relevant articles of Jim Butler's Feather Fascination.

* link used with the permission of Tim Siggs