Some 8 years ago I watched a pair of koels searching for host nests (at least
that's what I thought they were doing). They were going from tree to tree all
the while being attacked by other species, especially red wattlebirds and willy
wagtails, though I think noisy miners as well. Actually, only the female was
being attacked, the male was unmolested and for the most part kept his distance
only very occasionally flying in on an attack path in order to rescue his
betrothed's honour, or feathers at least.
I watched this for a good 20 minutes or so as the koels progressed along the
trees of the Parramatta River at Meadowbank, Sydney. Some of the bird attacks
on the female koel looked extremely vicious, and one time a wattlebird hidden
well in the centre of a dense low bush seemed to have been lying in ambush for
the koel to come searching, whence it launched itself at top speed in an
explosion of fury at close range.
However, unlike the koel in your story, the one in mine seemed to be just
getting on with the job, though I guess there's a limit to how much of this
type of treatment they can stand.
--Forwarded Message Attachment--
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 10:10:22 +0930
Subject: Friarbirds attacking and killing Koel
This morning on Charles Darwin Uni's Casuarina campus we witnessed a
female Koel brought to the ground by attacking Little Friarbirds. One
friarbird was on its back as they hit the ground and repeatedly pecked
the Koel in the head. As the Friarbirds took off a Black Butcherbird
flew in and delivered what may very well have been the final blow. I
picked up the Koel after this and it was still alive, but it gave a
final squawk and died within 10 seconds.
Has anyone observed this behaviour before where a host/potential host
kills an adult cuckoo, or know if this is well documented?
Cheers, Pete Kyne and Micha Jackson
Research Associate - Aquatic Ecology
Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK)
Charles Darwin University, Darwin NT 0810, Australia
Ph: +61 8 8946 7616
Fax: +61 8 8946 7455
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