Cuckoo behaviour

To: John Leonard <>, Birding Aus <>
Subject: Cuckoo behaviour
From: Virginia Abernathy <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:37:30 +0000
Hi John,

That's a great question! I think this is an area that still needs a lot more 
research, though there does seem to be some evidence of territoriality in some 
brood parasites. For the Pacific Koel, the males constantly advertise 
themselves by sitting on a high perch and giving their "ko-el" call. But its 
not understood if this is for mating purposes or if the male is signalling to 
other males: this is my nesting territory, back off. I have definitely seen 
males fighting/posturing to one another, but again, I'm not sure if this is a 
fight over a female or of an area. However, myself and many other COG members 
have noted that male koels often call very close to host nests that contain 
koel eggs/nestlings. I've also seen female koels very close to parasitised 

In North America, female brown-headed cowbirds have been described as sometimes 
being territorial and defending their breeding grounds, though their 
territories often overlap. However, for cowbirds, its not as important to 
defend a parasitised nest since many cowbird hosts are capable of raising more 
than one cowbird.

That's my take anyway!



From: Birding-Aus <> on behalf of John 
Leonard <>
Sent: 16 June 2017 14:17
To: Birding Aus
Subject: Cuckoo behaviour

Can someone answer this question I had from someone at work, I can't find any 

Has it been observed that any species of cuckoo, having laid an egg in a host 
nest, then defends that nest against predators or other cuckoos trying to 
parasitise it?

John Leonard
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