Mike Todd has suggested that due to an absence in some areas of coastal NSW
of Noisy Friarbirds, Little & Red Wattlebirds, that the commoner hosts of
Koel Cuckoos are more likely to be the Orioles & Magpielarks, rather than
Wattlebirds and Friarbirds that I was proposing.
I would be happy to accept this view except the evidence does not suggest
it. The NSW Annual Bird Reports publishes information that is collected from
around the State but the contributors to the Eurobodalla NHS, Hunter BOC,
Illawarra BOC, Hasting BOC, Central Coast, CBOC & Birding NSW, as well as
some prominent birders on the North Coast, provide the bulk of the
observations. Since 1995 I have made it a practice to published the observed
cuckoo host, particularly that of Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos. There
have been 41 published reports of Koel hosts 1995-2002 and these are as
Red Wattlebird 26, Little Wattlebird 7, Noisy Friarbird 4, Blue-faced
Honeyeater 3 and one report of a juvenile being fed by a Noisy Miner, which
was not necessarily the host. The Blue-faced Honeyeater reports are all from
the Clarence District. The bulk of the Koel hosts reported in the Hunter
Annual Bird Reports are all Red Wattlebirds
I would welcome any reports of Orioles and Magpie-larks being the hosts in
NSW. As previously mentioned, in the publication "Cuckoo Hosts in Australia"
1989 (Brooker & Brooker 1989, Little Wattlebirds don't get a mention at all
and Red Wattlebirds only a partial mention, but indicting reports of the RWB
being the hosts were increasing but none before 1978. The first Little
Wattlebird report was 1996 and include observations of eggs and small chicks
in the nest!.
All this probably goes to show the adaptability of the Koel Cuckoo to
changing situations in the coastal regions of NSW and the fact that the
species itself is extending its range south.
Editor, NSW Annual Bird Reports
I would be pleased to hear from any observers