Pallid Cuckoos

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Pallid Cuckoos
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 06:34:18 -0800
Hello Duncan and other cuckoo birdwatchers,

It looks like Duncan has found another flaw in at least one of the popular
Australian Field

He asks:
>Morcombe describes light and dark grey morph males, and light and dark rufous
females. Who is right?

If we can take HANZAB as being accurate, it would appear that there is a
difference between male and female Pallids.
HANZAB describes and has illustrations for adult female dark-rufous and
light-rufous morphs.

>The bird I watched corresponded to the dark rufous
morph depicted in Morcombe, is that correct, or was it an immature female?

HANZAB says that imm female is similar to adult in both light and dark rufous
phases and it is difficult to tell the difference between adult and imm female.
HANZAB also suggests there is probably no female grey morph or male rufous

My comments on the Australian field guides:

The illustrations for Pallid Cuckoo in 'Pizzey and Knight' differ considerably
the illustrations in HANZAB!
The streaking on the crowns of the so-called immatures seems to be exaggerated
when compared with HANZAB.
Also, the eye-stripe in P&K is almost non-existent.

'Simpson and Day' does show a rufous-morph female Pallid but, in the text,
describes a grey morph which is not illustrated.
Also, some of the wing feathers on the juvenile appear blue in my copy.

'Slater' does not describe any difference between adult male and female.
There is, however, a description of 'sub-adult', a term not used in HANZAB.

'Morcombe' seems to have benefited from the same information used by HANZAB in
its text.
In fact, the illustration for adult female dark-rufous morph in 'Morcombe' is
reasonably similar to the same bird in HANZAB.
(Is that one up for Morcombe?)
But the illustrations seem to me to be designed to fit the narrow band on the
page rather than to reasonably depict a natural pose.
(Incidentally, Morcombe's field guide is once again available at my local Book
World for less than $30.)

It is confusing and once again the Australian field guides have different
I guess we need to carry them all!

Perhaps Birds Australia could consider producing more 'field guide' versions of
sections of HANZAB such as was done with Stephen Debus's 'The Birds of Prey of
I would probably buy at least one of each!

Bob Inglis
Woody point SEQld, Australia.
27 deg 15min S; 153 deg 5 min E

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