Aggregations of Channel-billed Cuckoos

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Subject: Aggregations of Channel-billed Cuckoos
From: "Alan Morris" <>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 09:32:50 +1100
Hi Birders,
Recently Chris Chafer queried how many Channel-billed Cuckoos have been seen together, quoting 12 flying/feeding together recently in the Illawarra Region and 20 feeding together in a fig tree at Milton.
In the records of the Birding NSW (previously the NSWFOC) Annual Reports, published since 1970, the highest aggregation that I have been able to find was 23 roosting together on Susan Island, a rainforest reserve in the Clarence River, on 28 October 1998. The observation was made made by Greg Clancy and it would appear that this Island is a regular roost site. However I have recently received a report of 50+ flying together over Wallis Lake, near Coomba Park on 14 September 1999 heading south, seen by Maret Vesk who lives there. On 21 October 2001 a much smaller flock of 20 was seen, also flying south.
HANZAB discusses this issue and mentions that larger flocks of up to 50 Birds have been recorded either feeding together or on migration (North 1901); McCulloch (1980) who lived at Reserve Creek, Murwillumbah NSW reported up to 20 feeding together; Bardnard (1926) in Queensland reported up to 60 in evening, flying from feeding sites; while Coates (1985) in Papua New Guinea, reported on 60 birds in Nov, suggested to have been a pre-migratory gathering (bit late for that I would have thought!).
So the recored at least for NSW is 50+.
Alan Morris
Birding NSW Records Officer
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