birding-aus 'hepatic' means 'of the liver' or 'liver-coloured'

Subject: birding-aus 'hepatic' means 'of the liver' or 'liver-coloured'
From: lorne <>
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 08:39:35 +1000

Chris Brandis sent me a mail yesterday re. my sighting of a 'hepatic'
ORIENTAL CUCKOO at Cattai a week ago. He wondered whether the bird may
have been an immature Brush Cuckoo, which apparently was present. A good
point. After receiving hi mail, I got a bit worried, hoping my
identification had been accurate.

The immature Brush and the 'hepatic' Oriental are similar birds. The
illustration of the former in Simpson and Day was very similar to what I
saw at Cattai. However the illustration of the 'hepatic' in Pizzey and
Knight was closer to what I saw. Making sure I made a correct sighting,
I've consulted all Australian field guides, a PNG guide, a field guide
to birds of South-east Asia and small field guides to Nepal and
Thailand. After all that, I'm pretty positive I saw a 'hepatic' Oriental
Cuckoo, rather than a young Brush.

Here are my reasons:

1. The bird i saw was large. When being chased by Black-faced Cuckoo
Shrikes, it was about their size.

2. The bird was more rufous than brown. Not as brightly coloured as the
females shown in Slater, but like the 'hepatic' in Pizzey and Knight. It
was also heavily barred, ALTHOUGH the barring didn't extent right to the
throat. The upper part of the tail was barred, as was the underside.
Unfortunately, I was not able to see the bird's yellow feet as it was
always side on to me or had its back to me. They eye was a light brown,
not really yellow.

3. Not once did the bird make a noise. Immature Brush Cuckoos, this
early in their lives would be crying out for food I believe, or making
noise. Brush Cuckoos are usually noisy birds, calling quite incessantly.
I did not hear ONE Brush Cuckoo when i was at Catta that day.

4. The bird was shy. It flew off whenever I got near. I coul not get to
within fifteen-twenty feet of it. It was nervous like a pigeon. 

5. When the bird flew It was fast and direct, and hobby-like on curved,
pointed wings. The flight did not undulate. In the guides it says Brush
Cuckoos undulate in flight.

6. Shining Bronze-cuckoos chased the bird away, like it was a foreigner.
I've never seen Shining Bronze-cuckoos chase another cuckoo like this.

7. later, after the bird had vanished into paddock areas, bordered by
timbered areas, I heard Dollarbird-like calls. In Pizzey and Knight, it
say that orientals make Dollarbird-like calls. I DID NOT see one
Dollarbird during the two hours i was at Cattai.

Anyway... blah blah blah... If anyone out there has had expereinces with
a 'hepatic' Oriental Cuckoo, can they mail me, I'm really interested in
trading notes. 


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