Duetting Cuckoos

To: Julian Robinson <>
Subject: Duetting Cuckoos
From: shorty <>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2016 09:48:12 +0000
I took this pic at Campbell Park on October 17, 2015.

On Sat, Feb 6, 2016 at 8:15 PM, Julian Robinson <> wrote:

I wrote here my theory a couple of years ago, that cuckoos maintain a bond with their young and that they do re-unite with their young for migration.  This was after observing adult and juvenile Pallids interacting closely in the time between nesting and migration.   I may have misinterpreted when I mentioned this to Naomi Langmore, but I believe she said this is likely true.  She certainly said that adults hang around ‘their’ nests and can be heard calling regularly during the breeding period.





From: Martin Butterfield [
Sent: Saturday, 6 February 2016 2:38 PM
To: COG List
Subject: [canberrabirds] Duetting Cuckoos


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?



Description: Horsfield's Bronze-cuckoo-.jpg

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