Yes, I agree, it has been an extremely interesting thread. It seems likely
to me, based on contributions to this discussion, that the calling of CBCs
has multiple purposes. I think many of us tend to fall into the trap of
providing a single reason for a particular animal behaviour, but I propose
that in the CBC, at least, calling has the following purposes:
1. Early in the breeding season, males call to attract a mate and to also
proclaim a breeding territory. Advertising the breeding territory through
calling then continues throughout the breeding period.
2. Calling and flight displays are also used to attract the attention of
potential hosts (corvids, currawongs, magpies) away from their nest to allow
a female to sneak in and lay her egg.
3. Later in the breeding season CBCs call to muster fledged progeny,
especially if a single pair has parasitised several nests within the
4. Calling while in long-distance flight, either between foraging &
roosting sites or on long-distance migration helps to keep the group(s)
together, thus providing safety in numbers. Perhaps another way of
protecting themselves, offspring and other close relatives when flying over
open areas and vulnerable to predation or mobbing?
It sounds like a great opportunity for a postgraduate project. What are the
purposes of the calls? Are there different calling patterns/visual displays,
each serving a different purpose? What is the genetic composition of calling
flocks that are on the move - are they family groups or do they comprise
From: Allan Richardson
Sent: Wednesday, 7 December 2011 8:36 PM
To: Judith Hoyle
Cc: ; ;
Subject: What is the function of Channel-billed Cuckoo's
There are certainly some very interesting questions in relation to CBC's yet
to be answered. Some very interesting observations in there.
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