Duetting Cuckoos

To: COG List <>
Subject: Duetting Cuckoos
From: Martin Butterfield <>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2016 03:37:39 +0000
A few minutes ago I heard an unusual call in our garden.  I'd describe it best as a "weee-you", quite melodious in tone with a slightly rising inflection on the you.  After a little time searching I traced the call to an juvenile Fan-tailed Cuckoo, and I saw it make the call.  However a few seconds later I heard the call again from a different direction, without the juveniles bill opening.  Assuming it wasn't a very smart bit of ventriloquism I moved my search to the alternate area and found an adult Fan-tailed Cuckoo.

This somewhat surprised me as I wouldn't have expected the Masters of Delegated Brooding to display family ties and would have thought such calling back and forth to be contact prior to breeding, which is contra-indciated by:
  • the time of year; and 
  • the age of the young bird.
So was the adult investing its time in a bit of cradle-snatching or was this two birds teaming up for migration?  Os something else?

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