Channel-billed Cuckoo

To: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Subject: Channel-billed Cuckoo
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2017 09:46:45 +0000
A coucal once attempted to entice my husband into the bushes after he imitated 
its mating call!

On 19 Dec 2017, at 5:10 pm, Philip Veerman <> wrote:

> That "a baby bird is known to imprint on its parents" applies to many 
> species. Most obviously things like ducks. It does not apply, to many other 
> species. Clearly not for cuckoos. Cuckoos clearly know who is their species 
> when it comes to mating. Besides the size difference is usually extreme and 
> there is no resemblance of foster parent victims, to themselves, as adults. 
> In some species it applies more to one sex than the other. For some species 
> the males will imprint onto a foster parent and court females of that species 
> when mature but females still know what is the right species when they grow 
> up.
> As for "why don’t Currawongs identify the cuckoo as an imposter?" There is 
> probably a multitude of reasons for many different species. A simple answer 
> in many cases is they do. However the cuckoo has evolved counter measures of 
> being overly enticing to the parent. Like a very big mouth that the foster 
> parents find hard to not feed.
> As interesting as these questions are, in a way they are more interesting for 
> the brood parasites that parasitize similar birds, like in the finches 
> (Whydahs and Waxbills) and the at least one species of duck that parasitises 
> other ducks.
> Philip
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
> Chris Melrose
> Sent: Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 1:24 PM
> To: Birding Aus
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Channel-billed Cuckoo
> Hi All
> I have a few Channel-bills that have parasitised Currawong nests near my home 
> on the lower north shore of Sydney. Numbers seemed to have increased over the 
> years and they are even now along the Central Coast of NSW in places not 
> previously seen.
> This week I can hear adults interacting vocally with fledglings, although I’m 
> never in the right place at the right time to see the interaction. My 
> question is: if a baby bird is known to imprint on its parents, the cuckoo 
> should imprint on the Currawong when it is born, how does this imprint change 
> for fledgling cuckoos so they later identify with adult cuckoos? What are the 
> adult cuckoos doing when they come to visit the fledgling? And finally, why 
> don’t Currawongs identify the cuckoo as an imposter?
> Do birds identify with others of their species? The ones in my neighbourhood 
> always tend to stick together, so what is it that allows this switching of 
> identity to happen?
> Cheers
> Chris
> Christine Melrose
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