Well, it's a mystery to me anyhow. I've checked my bird guides but haven't
been able to identify it.
At dusk on Saturday 6th Jan at Berowra in Sydney's north, we heard a
strange bird call which I can only describe as sounding like a small dog
yelping. The call consisted of a single low "yowp", repeated continuously.
We tracked it to a tree in somebody's driveway, where there was a large
bird high up in the foliage lying horizontally on a branch, but
unfortunately in the gloom I couldn't identify any marks. There was a
second bird making the same noise that flew between the tree and a patch of
scrub on the other side of the road.
The following day we went back and found one of the birds calling in the
patch of scrub, perched in a casuarina tree about 20 feet off the ground,
and were able to observe it from below. The bird was aware of us but didn't
seem concerned at our presence, staying on the same branch and calling
continuously for the 10 minutes or more that we were observing it. It was
still there when we left. Details are as follows:
Call - a single "yowp", repeated continuously.
Size - large, about the size of a currawong or crimson rosella
Tail - long, finely barred like a cuckoo
Underbody & breast - creamy-white, with some tinges of orange (immature or
Legs - same creamy-white, as I couldn't distinguish them from the belly in
Wings - brown with a rather beautiful marbled pattern
Back - couldn't really see from below, but it appeared to be shading to
black along the spine
Head - black with a broad white streak above the eyebrow and two more white
streaks on either side of its throat, the effect was rather like the
pattern on a New Holland honeyeater.
Beak - grey or black (couldn't really tell in the shade), short curved
beak, looks like that of Common Koel in Slater
Eye - black
Perch - this was really distinctive, with the bird lying almost
horizontally on the branch, balanced on the mid-point of its belly.
My initial thought was that this bird was some sort of cuckoo, based on the
long barred tail and the general lack of movement of the bird. The closest
I can find in my birdguides is a female Common Koel, however my bird
definitely had a white stripe above the eye, not below, and the breast and
wing feathers were different from the illustrations and descriptions in
Slater and Pizzey. Anyone have any suggestions?
The location: bush reserve on the corner of Currawong Road & Berowra Waters
Road, Berowra Heights, marked "Aboriginal Carvings" in the Gregory's street
Thanks in advance,
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)