Koels in Holt.

To: 'John Layton' <>, "" <>
Subject: Koels in Holt.
From: jandaholland--- via Canberrabirds <>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2022 22:24:35 +0000

Many thanks John for some more interesting Koel observations.


Over the past month there has been more Koel activity around my GBS site than ever, with lots of calling (including surprisingly still some long periods of 10 minutes or more sets of ko-els).  Having up to 3 males and females calling at once the different quality in their calls has been very noticeable, with lots of variants in the main whoa whoa/wirra wirra and kek kek kek/quick quick quick calls.  There have been other calls too on which I have published previously, especially the liquidly wek wek wek, which may be the same as your high pitched wikA couple of nights ago two males were found frozen facing each other within 50 cm of each other and for more than 30 minutes as it grew dark they could be seen giving a range of calls all closely following the others, whoas, wek weks, wows and lots of growls by one bird in particular.


Your Magpie-lark interaction is also interesting as I can’t recall many previous observations.  A couple of evenings ago I observed a very similar event in my neighbours garden with first one excitedly chasing a female Koel and then hovering above it for several minutes continually harassing it as it was trying to hide in the bushes.  On other occasions I’ve also heard Magpie-larks giving excited alarm calls while Koels were around, a possible reason being is that around my place they’re having a much better breeding season than in recent ones, with currently two occupied nests close to our house.  Around the same time a friend in Chapman saw one swooping down on a recently perched Koel and making an awful lot of noise in the big eucalypt behind them. They soon flew off together, the harassment continuing.


The Magpie-lark is a host elsewhere but unlike the Red Wattlebird there is only one known observation of it raising a Koel chick in Canberra, so I’m keeping a close eye to see if there will be the second. 


Otherwise despite their early arrival and all the activity it seems to be a slow and late breeding season for Koels, with only 2 fledglings coming to my attention so far this month.  If anyone else has seen/heard a Koel fledgling recently I would be very grateful for the day, location and some brief comments, especially the host if possible?


Jack Holland


From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of John Layton via Canberrabirds
Sent: Thursday, 22 December 2022 6:28 PM
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Koels in Holt.



As mentioned previously, koels have been very uncommon in my section of Holt. However, this has changed remarkably. During the past 25 days I hear them frequently every day from 5 a.m. until near dark, although I hadn’t seen any until 6 p.m. yesterday, when my attention was drawn to the frenetic activity of Magpie Larks around our large White Cedar tree. As I watched through the living room window, I thought I could see a koel in among the foliage. As I opened the screen door three or four males flew from the tree in a leisurely fashion, one paused for a couple of seconds on a neighbouring roof and carried out a leg stretch before following the others.


Incidentally, while in the tree, their calls seemed to be lower pitched than the wirra wirra call, so I’d describe it as wurra wurra, and the final wurra was followed by a very short, surprisingly high pitched wik! – somewhere between middle and high


John Layton.


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