Fan-tailed cuckoos

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Fan-tailed cuckoos
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 17:06:52 +1000

Whilst looking at references on the Fan-tailed Cuckoo, I'll add some info from Canberra, on the population trends of the species, with this extract from my "Canberra Birds: A Report on the first 21 years of the Garden Bird Survey". (This is based on 1316 observer years of data.) The COG Atlas (McComas Taylor & COG) tells a similar story.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis

This is a forest and woodland inhabitant. It is less migratory than other cuckoos, so its monthly pattern, although typical of cuckoos, is much less well defined. This species is quite vocal, especially during spring. However the call is probably not as far-carrying as Pallid or Brush Cuckoo. From a mid winter low with very few observations, numbers increase sharply from August to a peak in October, then decline quickly till December, staying in even reduced numbers through summer and autumn before declining to the winter low. Numbers have declined significantly, at about half the abundance from Years 12 to 21 as for the first 11 years.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Caine <>
To: <>
Date: Saturday, 23 August 2003 16:41
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] re: Fan-tailed cuckoos

Hi all,

According to the Atlas of Victorian Birds (1987)

"Fan-tailed Cuckoos are partial summer migrants to Victoria from further north, although those that remain during winter usually stop calling and become inconspicuous". p 159.

Presumably this means some migrate north and some don't ?

My impression here in Maribyrnong (Vic, Melb.) was that one arrived recently. None were sighted over a period of 7 months of regular observations prior to September. 

The Atlas entry goes on to indicate that reporting rates for Fan-tailed Cuckoos in April, May and June were at 5%  - the lowest level - and then peaked at  25-30 % in September, October and November. The reporting rates do show prescence all year.

If some migrate, it seems likely that they return in August and September ??

Pizzey and Knight says "part migratory".
Simpson and Day indicate annual migrant.
Slater, Slater and Slater say "common resident or south-east; common migrant in Tas."
Michael Morcombe says "partly locally migratory"

So where does that leave us ? Somewhere in between resident and migratory ?

Neither are fully correct.


Jim Caine

Jim Caine

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