The Black-eared Cuckoo was showing well at Diddams Close, Lake Ginnindera, just before 9 a.m. this morning, after not being visible for the previous
hour. It was in the company of an adult Horsfield’s Bronze-cuckoo, which allowed good comparison between the species. Full list at
To follow on from Phillip’s point below, the buff coloration on the breast of the bird at Diddam’s Close was somewhat stronger than that on the Black-eared
Cuckoo that Tim Reid and I saw at Glendale Depot, Namadgi, last Sunday (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S42475424).
I described the breast of the Glendale Depot bird at the time as “paler grey to buff-white”. There was also more contrast in the facial markings of the Diddam’s Close bird than the Glendale Depot bird, but otherwise they were similar. Moreover, at least from
the posted photographs, the Black-eared Cuckoo present at Callum Brae over the last couple of
might be concluded to be intermediate between the others. Plumage
freshness, and degree of feather wear, would seem sufficient to explain these differences of degree.
From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Friday, 9 February 2018 10:39 AM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>;
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Black-eared Cuckoo
The pictures in the field guides vary widely as to how buff or grey these birds are on their undersides. HANZAB explains it as feather wear, so that the feather
tips (that over time break off) are coloured, leaving greyer bases. This bird is very buff (almost like a pale male Rufous Whistler) and as the photos show, is a little scruffy.
From: Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Friday, 9 February, 2018 6:51 AM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Black-eared Cuckoo
From: Michael Lenz
Sent: Thursday, 8 February 2018 3:23 PM
To: Philip Veerman
Cc: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Black-eared Cuckoo
The bird was still there at 15:00 h doing similar things to what Sue and Philip have described, but also chasing at times the other Bronze Cuckoos.
On 8 February 2018 at 14:33, Philip Veerman <> wrote:
Yes a “me too”. I went about mid day today and found Con B. at the site, who showed me where it had been,
exactly as Sue described. I strolled and sat on the park bench for 20+ minutes blankly looking into the trees thinking I should come back tomorrow morning when the birds should be more active. It is a little awkward strolling around with binoculars near two
young ladies sunning themselves in bikinis nearby. Then the Black-eared Cuckoo appeared, flew in and perched about 3 metres away from me, stayed in easy view for about 10 minutes whilst I sat on the park bench and then I lost it. Geoffrey D appeared and the
Black-eared Cuckoo reappeared almost immediately, followed by Julie C. Anyway we 3 watched it for maybe 30 minutes, mostly at very close range. Many photos taken (not by me). It stayed at about 2.5 to 4 metres above ground, in contrast to the 2 spp of Bronze-Cuckoos
(1 of each) who were only seen by me near the tree top. The Black-eared Cuckoo was feeding throughout the time, delicately picking off the small caterpillars, each by the middle of the body (as far as I could see). Only flying minimally, mainly just walking
along the branches. It is a first ever observation of this species for me. It is some years since I added a bird to my Aussie list. Thanks for the information.
From: Sue Lashko
Sent: Wednesday, 7 February, 2018 6:37 PM
To: canberrabirds chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] Black-eared Cuckoo
Just back from a very productive 45 minutes at Bimbi Beach, Diddams Close, Lake Ginninderra.
Christine D had already located the Black-eared Cuckoo when I arrived and by the time we left we had identified both bronze-cuckoos as well as a Fan-tailed. The elm leaves are being attacked by small caterpillars and the cuckoos were gorging themselves, so
it would be reasonable to assume that the cuckoos might still be there in the morning.
Just to repeat the location - the elms between the dog park and the beach and the actual trees were between the 2 barbeques.