When reading Kurtis Lindsey's decription of what be
believed to be an Oriental Cuckoo on the wires at Killara I was of the view
that perhaps the bird was not an Oriental Cuckoo but rather a common old Pallid
I say this for several reasons, the first is that
Pallid Cuckoos are irregular visitors to Sydney, they are regular in spring to
western Sydney and the Hawkesbury area and less common in the eastern and
northern suburbs, so the Pallid Cuckoo cannot be ruled out because it does "not
occur" as it can and occasionally "does occur". Furthermore they can breed on
the North Shore and immature birds can have barred breasts.
Secondly Kurtis refers to " soft barring on the
breast". Juvenile Fantailed, Brush and Pallid Cuckoos can all have "soft barring
on the breast". Adult Oriental Cuckoos have prominent black bars on a white
breast. Hepatic and or female birds can have red bars on a white breast.
Juvenile Oriental Cuckoos can have pale to almost no barring on a buff breast. A
more detailed description of the "barring" would be required before one could be
certain that the bird was an Oriental Cuckoo.
My field guides shows that Brush, Pallid, Fantailed
& Oriental Cuckoos all have white on the wing.
Finally from a moving bus, it might be a bit
difficult to determine size and one would expect at this time of the year, in
addition to Pallid Cuckoos, to see juvenile/immature Fantailed Cuckoos around
the North Shore as well as Immature & female Brush Cuckoos..
While about 3-4 Oriental Cuckoo records are
received annually for NSW, with some times appearing at the same location
several years ina row, overall they are pretty rare for any location (ie in my
45 years of bird watching in NSW, I have only seen this species on one occasion,
even though I have spent overall more time in the field than working behind a
desk, and in more recent years, being out in the bush daily).
Never-the-less an Oriental Cuckoo cannot be ruled out and the three that
appeared at Mangrove Mangrove about 4 years ago, all totally different to each
other, were a great bonus for many new and old birders alike! So Kurtis tell us
Birding NSW Records