gibberbird eggs

To: Michael Todd <>
Subject: gibberbird eggs
From: Ian May <>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:36:34 +1030
Hello Michael

The egg of a Black-eared Cuckoo and other Bronze-cuckoo species can be somewhat similar in appearance to the eggs of a Gibberbird. Although Black-eared Cuckoo are known to seek hosts with domed nests, they spend much time on the ground and it may not be too surprising if Gibberbirds are also parasitised.

When we resided in far north of South Australia, occasionally I would see Gibberbirds and other chat species nesting particularly in wet years and in the 1970's, had the opportunity to work with egg collections of the South Australian Museum.

Although I can't recall observing a cuckoo egg within a Gibberbird clutch, as you probably already know the cuckoo's egg is usually different to it's host, not only in colour and marks, but also by comparison of it's 4 SS's, size, shape, sheen and surface texture.

Most of the Chats show egg pattern variation within a clutch, more than is normal for many other species, however eggs within a single clutch should be uniform (4SS's) notwithstanding aberrations and variation that occurs between clutches from different individuals.

You also probably know that Morcombe's Field Guide to Australian Birds has a well illustrated nest and egg section at the back which is most useful. If you want to send me a copy of your photo, I would be happy to give my best guess.


Ian May

Price, South Australia

Michael Todd wrote:

Hello all,

I'm sorting through my photographs from the last 12 months and have been baffled by some photos that I took of a gibberbird nest that had 2 eggs back on the 5th August at Davenport Downs in south-west Qld.

The strange thing is that the 2 eggs in the nest were quite different in colour and pattern to such an extent that I at first assumed that there was a cuckoo egg in the nest. After closer re-evaluation I now think that there wasn't a cuckoo egg in the nest. One egg was noticeably pinker in colour, with denser markings than the other.

Normally I'd look up venerated egg references like North or Campbell with a problem like this but the Gibberbird wasn't described until AFTER these volumes were published (early 1900's).

Now, this egg variation within a clutch may be normal for Gibberbirds, I'm no expert on them. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows about Gibberbird eggs or for that matter whether it is normal to have a lot of variation within a clutch of eggs.



Mick Todd
Toronto, NSW, Australia

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