Subject: PALLID CUCKOO behaviour
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 1995 16:38:38 +1000 (EST)
This morning (1995 Sep 20) I followed the sound of a male Pallid Cuckoo
until finding it about 1km from my house.  I watched it for over 20 mins,
from close range during which time, it twice fed an immature female.  One
one occasion, the female flew to the male and on the other, the male to the
female.  The male uttered only the "Spring call" and the female, which made its
short rasping call only rarely, didn't seem to be initiating the feeding
through calling or any other begging behaviour.

My library contains no books with pictures of adult females, and my assessment
of one bird being an immature female is based on the call and the drawings in
the current edition of Slater and the previous edition of Simpson & Day.
It had the white spot on the nape and a brown breast with irregular thin
black bars.  In this regard, it was very close to the drawings of immatures
in Slater and S & D, but less like the female sub-adult in Slater.

This seems strange to me.  Why would a parasitic cuckoo feed or court an
immature?  (Is this a moral issue in avian biology?)

Rob McNaught  Bugaldie, 149E 31S

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