Red Wattle-birds and Koel Cuckoos

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Subject: Red Wattle-birds and Koel Cuckoos
From: "alan morris" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Sep 2005 14:17:35 +1000
Hi Birders,

Tom Wilson (1/9/2005) was suggesting that Red Wattlebirds might be nesting earlier than usual so that the Koels might be too late to parasitise their nests. However Red Wattlebirds commence nesting with the lengthening of the daylight period, so that it is normal practise for them to have already reared their first young before the Koels arrive. Mind you the use of Red Wattlebirds, and now Little Wattlebirds as hosts by Koel Cuckoos is a recent phenomena, previously they were not used by Koels. This new situation has come about because Red and Little Wattlebirds are now resident urban birds in coastal towns. Prior to european settlement, they were probably irregular visitors to the coastal areas depending on what trees were flowering. Extensive planting of native shrubs in urban areas, particularly grevilleas and bottlebrushes has changed all that!

Note also that the larger honeyeaters like Wattlebirds, Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Striped Honeyeaters, Noisy Miners and Regent Honeyeaters, at least in the Newcastle-Wollongong Region, nest 3 times a season, so that generally one nesting event is completed before the Cuckoos arrive. As with Noisy Miners, I suspect in coastal areas the Wattlebirds nest all year around.

Alan Morris
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