birding-aus Re: Carnivore Koel

Subject: birding-aus Re: Carnivore Koel
From: Hugo Phillipps <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 15:47:06 +1100
Hi all -

I checked HANZAB (Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds)
vol.4 on Koel diet and could find only one reference to a Koel eating a
vertebrate - in EMU 64 (1965), page 128, by Dennis Gosper.  He quotes
correspondence from a Mrs R Grieves as follows:

"While we were busy out of doors at the back of our house we were suddenly
conscious of distress noises among the small birds.  We found a little
flock of Silvereyes harrying some large bird in a Cassia bush at the back
fence, some 40 feet away.  I immediately recognised it for a female Koel -
the markings were very noticeable.  My husband went for the binoculars and
when we got the glasses on it we could see it had a Silvereye in its beak.
The little bird's wings were still fluttering and its cries were echoed by
the rest of the flock.  The cuckoo turned the Silvereye about in her beak
till either it ceased to struggle or she got it in a suitable position for
swallowing, and in a few gulps she got it down.  The clamour died down and
the other Silvereyes quietened as the cuckoo sat and preened herself...
...she made no attempt to dismember the Silvereye or pluck it..."

The incident took place in the Grafton, NSW, area on 1 Feb 1964.


Hugo Phillipps
Communications Coordinator
Birds Australia
415 Riversdale Road
HAWTHORN EAST 3123, Australia
Tel: (03) 9882 2622, fax: (03) 9882 2677
Email: <>
Web site: <>

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