Eastern Koels take Victoria

To: Tim Dolby <>
Subject: Eastern Koels take Victoria
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 09:50:05 +1100
Tim Dolby wrote:

Compare that to 32 recorded reports in the current year (2009). The link to Moreton Bay Fig does seem significant. I think the Fig, like certain bird species, including Australian Figbird amongst others, are benifiting from changes in climatic conditions across southern Australia.

Tim et al.

I'm glad to see that the provocative title of my original email has stirred up some interest!

There's no doubt that foraging resources and potential brood hosts are abundant in Melbourne, and for these reasons the Koel is likely to become a successful member of the regular migratory avifauna. The analogy with the Grey-headed Flying-fox is a good one, food-wise. Interestingly, none of the smaller insectivorous cuckoos are successful urban exploiters in Melbourne (from my PhD research - and general observations), but the larger frugivorous one is a different beast altogether.

Whilst the Moreton Bay Fig is undoubtedly significant, there are a couple of observations worth considering:

   * Planted MBFs are abundant and widespread in Melbourne
     (particularly in the centre and east), but many are quite old -
     they're not recent colonists (as Ivor has just noted);
   * At various times of the warmer season, other fruiting tree species
     will be available for Koels to use (e.g. the plums in bayside
     mentioned by Ivor, etc.);

Whilst there were 32 records to date this year in Victoria, that's most unlikely to be 32 birds. They are moving around a bit in central Victoria/Melbourne, and apparently are seldom encountered in the same place on consecutive days. There are probably <10 individuals. Until the number gets higher, successful breeding may either not occur, or be difficult to detect.

Interesting nonetheless - bird assemblages are certainly not static!


Lawrie Conole
Northcote 3070


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