What is the function of Channel-billed Cuckoo's calling flights?

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: What is the function of Channel-billed Cuckoo's calling flights?
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2011 16:36:17 +1000
Well there is that, but CBCs often call when they are on their own with no others in earshot. They call when they are high up and not being mobbed, and they call when they are flying in circles closer to the ground. I have never heard one call near a fruit tree.

The thing is that a lone CBC calling would seem to be a more obvious target (given that it is calling attention to itself) particularly when it is flying high.

I have heard CBCs make a bit of a chuckling call that might be similar to a raptor.

Are there any published records of their behaviour when they are nest raiding?

Regards, Laurie.

PS I am not sure that it was a grammatical necessity to change the subject line. (I think that makes it a separate thread in the archives).

On 06/12/2011, at 2:44 PM, Stephen Ambrose wrote:

I think it is more likely to ensure "safety in numbers" especially while in flight. A lone individual is more likely to be mobbed by a nest host species (currawong or magpie) or preyed upon by a predator (large raptor) than one that is part of a flock. An individual calling as it takes flight alerts others to follow. Calling while in flight keeps individuals within a flock
close together, especially if they are flying at night.

Dr Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: Tuesday, 6 December 2011 2:56 PM
To: 'Birding Aus'
Subject: [Birding-Aus] What is the function of Channel-billed Cuckoo's
calling flights?

Interesting question. Presumably, like most migrant cuckoos they call for social or sexual reasons when they arrive at their breeding areas. But I don't think that is the question being asked. Which raises to me the idea that yes they are cuckoos, but in their way of feeding they are different from most cuckoos. They are mainly fruit eaters. I would think that fruit is a geographically concentrated food source, as distinct from the more evenly
spread insect food source that most cuckoos use. So I propose (for
consideration, with no proof I hope you understand) that maybe it is the calling related to finding food - if they want to share it that is, or maybe
it provides a way to assemble in groups at places with abundant food.


-----Original Message-----From: birding-aus- On Behalf Of Peter Shute Sent: Tuesday, 6 December 2011 8:29 AM To: 'Greg & Val Clancy'; 'Laurie Knight'; 'Birding Aus' Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] What is the function of
Channel-billedCuckoo callingflights?

What's the most CBCs you could expect to see in a flock? Do any other cuckoo
species fly in flocks like that?

Peter Shute

-----Original Message-----> From: >
 On Behalf Of
Greg & Val Clancy   > Sent: Tuesday, 6 December 2011 7:41 AM     >
To: Laurie Knight; Birding Aus
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] What is the function of Channel-billed Cuckoo

As they call at all times of the breeding cycle I would think
that the
suggestion that it is to 'pick up' immature birds would not
fully explain
why they call in flight.


Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Wildlife Guide
Coutts Crossing

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