From: "brian fleming" <>
Subject: Azure Kingfisher and Cuckoo at Wilson Reserve,
Hi Anthea and Birding-aussers,
An interesting situation Anthea! I have had recent similar experiences on
Sydney's Northern Beaches. Because of the various sub adult plumage stages
these two cuckoos go through I often find it difficult to tell which is
which. My guides are not much help and I don't have direct access to HANZAB.
To me the grey eye ring is diagnostic as I have seen some fairly young
Fan-tails with a discernable yellow eye rings. I am not so sure about the
square tail, it depends on your viewpoint, if you are looking at the tail
from the rear of a F-t C the tail can look square, if you look down (or up)
on it's tail it is rounded even if it is not fanned.
The first of the two cuckoos I recently had trouble with was very similar to
the bird you describe (incl. grey eye ring) and I assumed it was a Brush
Cuckoo. The second bird was seen yesterday and was dorsally similar to your
bird but darker on the underside with some blotching rather than distinct
barrs. It had a pale yellow eye ring so I choose Fan-tailed Cuckoo. At a
quick glance both birds were very similar.
I would welcome any discussion on this matter.
Anthea Flemming said:
> 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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