Hi Dean and all,
This is a late reply but I've only just had a chance to go through my
notebooks where I found a description of similar behaviour I observed on
The notes I wrote at the time read:
"I arrived home at 10.40am to see 2 adult male Koels high in eucalyptus,
perched on near-vertical branch, about 14 inches (sorry....35cm) apart,
looking at each other. They were repeatedly flicking wings and the lower
one was also quivering its tail. Lower one was also occasionally giving a
fragment of the 'wirra wirra..' call. This went on for ages - still dong
the same at 11.50am.
12.00 noon and one had moved to a nearby fork. Both very still.
Shortly after this it moved back to original branch where they resumed the
wing-flicking, tail-shaking 'dance', with occasional calls. At one stage
the lower bird moved to a nearby branch where it fanned wings and tail, and
quivering ... Back to original positions and sitting still again.
Both disappeared around 12.15pm."
Unlike Dean I didn't see any obvious aggression between the birds and I was
mystified as to the meaning of this behaviour. At the time I thought it
looked like courtship behaviour but these were two adult males. So, I was
interested to read Dean's sighting. Perhaps it was to do with establishing
Blue Mountains, NSW
At 5:00 PM +1100 12/11/03, Dean Portelli wrote:
>This morning I walked to Parramatta (western Sydney) and stopped to watch
>two male Common Koels perched about 1 1/4 their body length apart in a large
>casuarina. Both birds were calling intermittently with the repated "whee-do
>whee-do whee-do whee-do" (or "quodel-quodel-quodel" in Pizzey). One of the
>birds was singing at a slighlty lower frequency tha the other, and was also
>more vocal (the pitch of this birds calls sounded similar to other koels I
>have heard, the second bird with a higher pitch sounded unusual). This more
>vocal bird was also regularly flicking out its wings, a quick short jerky
>outward movement of the closed wing. The second bird also did this but less
>frequently. Apart from the calling and wing movements there was no other
>posturing. Both birds remained on their perches.
>After a few minutes, when I was about to walk off to get to where I was
>headed, I saw the more vocal bird fly at the other and attack it, forcing
>the recipient to fly down to a lower branch in the tree. The attacker
>remained at the same height and perched on a different branch. The recipient
>did not stay perched for very long, but began moving through the casuarina,
>gradually getting higher and into an adjacent tree. As it did this the bird
>had its tail fanned out and was doing the wing flicking movement frequently.
>Both birds remained silent. The recipient then flew out of the tree and away
>over the cleared fields. Then once it had landed elsewhere recommenced the
>"whee-do whee-do whee-do" vocalisation, which the remaining bird replied to,
>with the slightly lower frequency.
>I don't know much about Koel behaviour, but it was interesting to watch the
>two males interacting in this manner.
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