Channel Billed Cuckoo

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choosypix's picture
Channel Billed Cuckoo

As we were walking along, not taking too much notice of anything, the quietness of our day was shattered by a channel billed cuckoo, a currawong and a flock of (very) noisy miners landing in the tree directly above us.

The noisy miners swooped and shrieked and the channel billed cuckoo squawked in the loudest and most piteous way, relentlesly begging the currawong for food.

The currawong seemed to be just trying to escape the whole catastrophe but her maternal instincts appeared to be overcome by the pleading of the cuckoo. Every few minutes she found some morsel to momentarily silence the larger bird and she would then fly to another branch.

The cuckoo quickly swallowed the food and flew again close to the currawong and raucously demanded more.

All the time the noisy miners lived up to their name.



Elsie's picture

Wow! that's so neat! I find cuckoos so fascinatingsmiley

Great photos!


great pictures .... that sure is a big mouth to feed ...

Annie W
Annie W's picture

Brilliant set Antonia, complimented beautifully by your story too - I can almost hear the wonderful cacophany mysel.smiley.  Cuckoos fascinate me also, have been lucky enough to see a few around with their host parents this season.

West Coast Tasmania

choosypix's picture

Thank you Elsie, WhistlingDuck and AnnieJ.

It amazes me that a bird species can survive by fooling another bird into raising its young.

My heart went out to the poor looked so frazzled and tired.

Kind of reminded me of those rattled mums you sometimes see at the supermarket, being terrorised

by their two yearolds  throwing tantrums to get what they want.

Cheers and many thanks,


windshear's picture

Certainly not the most popular of birds.

Currawong has a "I must speak to my wife about this" kind of cuckoolded look on its face.

jandlcollins's picture

We live in Coorparoo, Queensland. For the last several weeks we've been hearing rendering pleadings from a young bird seeming in mortal danger. Eventually we found it to be a channel beaked cuckoo that had apparently been raised by a crow. We saw the crow feeding it! just like that picture of the currawong feeding the cuckoo in the attached comment. Very interesting but my worry is that this has gone on for too long. The cuckoo is bigger than the crow and the crow is looking very be-draggled and is trying to dis-engage. There are not many channel beaked cuckoo in this area (though the cuckoo shrike is common sometimes) so it is possible this bird will have no where to complete its education and feeding routines. If it comes to us needing to feed it, what do we give it?

Woko's picture

Things like you've observed often bring out the rescuer in us but it's far more helpful to allow nature to do its thing. My strong advice is to watch, learn & enjoy, jandlcollins. What you're seeing is a natural process which has been occuring since the year dot & human intervention could easily have bad effects.

This bird is unlikely to come to you for food but if it does don't reward it as it needs to learn to rely on its natural food. The food humans think is best for birds is often not even good for humans, let alone birds!

Devster's picture

Wow, looks like the Cuckoo could swallow the Currawongs head whole. 

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