Pheasant Coucal eating nestlings

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Pheasant Coucal eating nestlings
From: "Robyn" <>
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 19:06:20 +1000
A couple of weeks ago, I queried whether Brown Honeyeaters were nesting after 
puddling around for about two weeks.   Thanks for the knowledgeable replies.

As it turned out, the Brown Honeyeaters WERE nesting, and from that time, the 
bird seemed never to be off the nest.    Today, I checked, and day fifteen 
found the nest occupied again.   However, late morning, I heard distress calls 
from the honeyeaters, and went to check.   A Pheasant Coucal was at the nest.   
It quite slowly and deliberately investigated the nest.   Eventually, it ate 
the contents.   I think they were very young nestlings.   The coucal stayed 
about ten minutes, and after eating the nestlings with barely a noticeable 
gulp, it proceeded to systematically destroy the nest.   It tore the structure 
into shreds, completely removing it from the twigs it was attached to.

The honeyeaters returned when the Pheasant Coucal departed, still very 
distressed.   They seemed not to understand what had become of their young and 
were searching around, but several hours later, they were sitting atop the same 
tree, seemingly recovered and singing loudly.   Life is hard.   After a month, 
there is nothing to show for their work, dedication and investment.

It has been a lovely experience watching the nest building and the patient 
sitting, but was horrible watching the end.


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU