My thanks to Colin Scouler and Keith Brandwood for the information they
posted on immature Fan-tailed and Brush Cuckoos (following my request).
This afternoon I decided to return to Deep Creek on Narrabeen Lagoon to see
if I could find the Fan-tailed Cuckoo again, I found it feeding on the
ground in a small grove of casuarinas not far from where I saw it
previously, it was feeding on a black prince (cicada) and, judging by the
way it kept dropping it, probably just learning how to feed itself. This
time the light was better and the bird seemed unperturbed by my presence so
I had a far better look.
Here is my description:
Bigger than the Brush Cuckoo I saw some time ago, dark brown head, neck,
mantle and upper wings with a dark grey body showing between the furled
wings, the notching on the upper tail was a dark buff. There was a very
slight edging to the wing feathers and mantle.
The under-body was dark brown on the neck and upper breast shading to a
light grey from the legs back. Rather than blotching as I previously
described the underside had a checkered pattern with some evidence of
barring finer than the barring on the immature Brush Cuckoo I described
previously. The under-tail pattern was indistinct but had broad, broken
brown bars against a grey background, which extended across the width of the
tail. The tail was closed (narrow) rather than fanned and this gave it a
squarer appearance than an adult tail.
The bill and eye was black, the eye-ring yellow, legs pink grey shading into
yellow feet, the inside of the mouth was orange.
There was a white marking under the bend of the wing similar to a Pallid
I know I am a bit of a cuckoo freak but I really enjoyed watching this bird.
Bruce Cox on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
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