The birds of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: A review

To: Peter Marsh <>
Subject: The birds of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: A review
From: Jenny Spry <>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2014 09:20:03 +1000
Hi all,

I totally agree with the reviews so far given for this AFO Supplement, it
is excellent. I would also thank BirdLife Australia for publishing this
large supplement as it is invaluable for anyone interested in Christmas
Island and its birdlife. I have read the supplement a couple of times and
even gone so far as creating some spreadsheets of sightings.

Peter Marsh has pointed out the paper's comments on Himalayan Cuckoos which
I too found interesting. Both C&B & IOC have Himalayan Cuckoo *C.*
*saturatus* on their supplemental lists for Australia. HANZAB Vol 4 pp
660-661 says that *possible* *C. saturates* have been found on Cape York
(one specimen) and in the NT ("several possibles from 21 specimens").

Himalayan and Oriental Cuckoos, *C. optatus*, are evidently best separated
by call and the problem with birds seen in Australia and on Australian
territory is that they aren't known to call. Himalayan Cuckoos are also
slightly smaller than Oriental Cuckoos but this can only really be
determined with the bird in hand. A paper in the Oriental Bird Club Journal
Forktail, Vol 23 (2007) offers a possible solution. The paper states that:
"There are no known differences in the plumage or bare parts between
*saturatus *and *optatus *(King 2005, Payne 2005). However, it seems that
the amount of yellow on the lower mandible may be more extensive and the
yellow area more clear-cut in *saturatus *than in *optatus*. This character
warrants closer investigation."



On 5 September 2014 12:02, Peter Marsh <> wrote:

> Dear Birders,
> I agree with Rohan that this volume is a great addition to Australian
> ornithological literature. One observation of particular interest is the
> suggestion that the birds that have been seen on CI and identified as
> Oriental Cuckoo C. saturatus (sensu lato)  is in fact Himalayan Cuckoo C.
> saturatus (sensu stricto)  following the split of the traditional species
> into three following Payne (2005) and King (2005). This opinion is based on
> an analysis of the known migration patterns of the various species. The
> authors say (p. s118) “We consider the Christmas Island records likely to
> be saturatus that have overshot their wintering destination in Sumatra
> based on the location of the Island south of Sumatra and the late timing of
> their appearance”.
> Regards
> Peter Marsh
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