Azure Kingfisher and Cuckoo at Wilson Reserve, Ivanhoe, Vic.

Subject: Azure Kingfisher and Cuckoo at Wilson Reserve, Ivanhoe, Vic.
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 21:15:24 +1100
At about 12.30 today Philip Veerman and I saw an Azure Kingfisher perched on a dead tree on the Kew bank of the Yarra (at the Big Bend opposite the Bailey Billabong, for those who know the area). It perched with its back towards us, with its plumage almost purple in the sunlight; then it turned to show its dark chestnut breast. It dropped vertically into the water, and came up to perch much closer to the water. Then it flew across the river and disappeared into the willows.
   We were able to watch it for at least five minutes.

When we moved on a short distance, Philip found a young cuckoo perched about eight or nine feet up in a Red Gum over Hymenanthera shrubs. I would have said it was a Fan-tailed Cuckoo, but Philip noticed that its tail was rather square, so suggested it could be a Brush Cuckoo. It was generally a fairly dark grey-brown with no marked mottling on its back. The zig-zag marks on the tail were strongly marked and noticeable. The breast and underside were marked with blurred fine dark bars, over light grey,but there was not much contrast. The eye-ring was dark grey. After checking various FGs and HANZAB, I now believe it could have been a Brush Cuckoo. Seldom recorded in the area if at all - Fan-tailed is the usual Cuckoo in the area, though becoming uncommon these days. According to all the books, the Fan-tailed Cuckoo has a yellow eye-ring in all states of plumage.

Anthea Fleming
Ivanhoe, Vic

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