Pheasant Coucal eating nestlings

To: "Robyn" <>
Subject: Pheasant Coucal eating nestlings
From: Chris Charles <>
Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 22:10:54 +1000

Well its probably no consolation to know that the harvesters of Chinese herbal medicines in Borneo have traditionally tracked the Pheasant Coucal to its nest & when the chicks were young they would break the leg of each chick.

The Coucal hen would then gather herbs & feed them to the chicks whose legs would quickly heal. A second round of leg breaking would follow with hen foraging for herbs & feeding them to the chicks.

Now that the chick's legs were again healed, the harvester would come & collect them for putting them into wine & such like uses. The tribal theory was that the chicks were now full of health giving herbs evidenced by their rapid healing.

Maybe its like the abused kids that grow up into abusers

Chris Charles
Licole Pty Ltd
0412 911 184

On 17/08/2006, at 7:06 PM, Robyn wrote:

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)


To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message: unsubscribe (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