I have a bit of an unsolved question from this morning's birding at Ewan
Maddock Dam, near Landsborough on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Whilst I stayed scoping the water, looking at such boring things as
Painted Snipe, Spotless Crake, Black-tailed Native Hen, my husband James
wandered off to do some bush birding.
He had just been watching a Grey Shrike-Thrush, when his attention went
to a White-browed Scrubwren rather higher than usual in the tree.
Another bird flew past the scrubwren, landed close by and was fed by the
scrubwren. At first glance James thought he was looking at the
shrike-thrush again, but once the bird was fed, James looked harder and
saw it had the barred tail of a cuckoo, and the size and shape of a
When he told me this, I remonstrated that juvenile Fantailed Cuckoos
aren't grey. They are heavily streaked brown. He said, "I know, but this
is what I saw - a grey bird with a barred tail, looking like a grey
Fan-tailed Cuckoo, being fed by a White-browed Scrubwren. There were no
spots or streaks on this bird."
From perusing HANZAB (thanks, Danny!) there is no clear timing of moult
from the brown of juvenile to the grey of immature.
Help! Has anyone any thoughts on this? Or has anyone ever seen a
grey-plumaged Fantailed Cuckoo being fed? If this wasn't coming from the
mouth of my own husband, I'd dismiss this out of hand. He's been birding
for 25+ years.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
26° 51' 41"S 152° 56' 00"E
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