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13

Australian Koel

(Eudynamys cyanocephalus)
Alternate name(s): "Cooee-bird", "Flinders Cuckoo", "Indian Koel", "Rainbird*", "Common Koel", "Pacific Koel", "Eastern Koel"
Size: 40-46 cm
Weight: 190-325 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Koel at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "cyanocephalus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Australian Koel; this is the bird whose calls were recorded on 11 January 2016
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Lateral view of a male Australian Koel (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Gatton, QLD, December 2017]

Lateral view of a male Australian Koel (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Pallamallawa, NSW, December 2013]

Dorsal view of a male Australian Koel
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2010]

Male Australian Koel accompanied by an upset Noisy Friarbird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

The constant pestering had the desired effect, when the Australian Koel first squawked in irritation...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

... before deciding that it was indeed better to move on
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Australian Koel in an Acacia salicina tree; this bird's calls were recorded on 11 January 2016
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Partly obsured frontal view of a female Australian Koel in a Californian peppertree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2006]

Lateral view of a female Australian Koel (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Lateral view of a female Australian Koel with its head turned (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Close-up lateral portrait of a female Australian Koel; this bird's calls were recorded on 11 January 2016
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

Close-up lateral view of a female Australian Koel (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, October 2007]

Dorsal view of a female Australian Koel
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Ventral view of a female Australian Koel; this bird's calls were recorded on 11 January 2016
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2016]

The two following photos were taken when a female Australian Koel attracted attention to itself by issuing loud calls from the top of a tree. When disturbed there by a Magpie-lark, it flew into another tree, from where a male had been answering its calls.

Caught "in the act" - Australian Koel mounting a female
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Here the male and female Australian Koel go their separate ways again
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile Australian Koel (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Eastlakes Golf Course, Sydney, NSW, February 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a juvenile Australian Koel (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Eastlakes Golf Course, Sydney, NSW, February 2018]

Race "subcyanocephalus"

MALE

This ventral view of an Australian Koel shows that they have only 10, albeit wide and long, tail feathers
(photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD]

FEMALE

Close-up near-frontal view of a female Australian Koel (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, November 2011]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Juvenile male Australian Koel moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Juvenile male Australian Koel moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Juvenile male Australian Koel moulting into its first adult plumage (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Close-up near-frontal view of a juvenile Australian Koel (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Close-up lateral view of a juvenile Australian Koel (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Two different views of a juvenile Australian Koel - click on image to see the bird with its head turned (photos courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: ? Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Together with other birds marking the boundaries of their territory by calling from vantage points, we noticed that the local Australian Koels were quiet for two days during a late cold snap in late October 2008.

It is our experience that male Australian Koels do not like to be approached, while females - probably because they are used to a lot of attention by adversaries - will stay around and even study the opposition (see the lateral portrait of a female above).

Juvenile Blue-faced Honeyeater helping to feed a chick - only it isn't quite a sibling, but a juvenile Australian Koel instead (photo courtesy of N. Maclean)
[Noosaville, QLD, June 2016]

Food, Diet

Unlike most other cuckoos, Australian Koels are fruit eaters.

Male Australian Koel feeding in a native fig tree; note the red eyes, similar to those of White-winged Choughs
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, October 2008]

Pair of Australian Koels feasting on a banana (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mt. Molloy, QLD, November 2014]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

comkoel_art_20131213.m4a (SE QLD) Contact calls? (male) © ART
comkoel_20171116_3.m4a (NW NSW) Male calling female ("cooee") © MD
comkoel_art_20131125.m4a (SE QLD) Male calling female ("cooee") © ART
comkoel_20160111.m4a (NW NSW) Male "cooee" calls + Apostlebird reaction © MD
comkoel_20180131_3.m4a (NW NSW) Contact calls? (female) © MD
comkoel_20180131_2.m4a (NW NSW) Pair Q&A (simultaneous) © MD
comkoel_20180131.m4a (NW NSW) Pair Q&A (Female first) © MD
comkoel_20170121.mp3 (NW NSW) Alarm calls, pair © MD
comkoel_20170121_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Alarm calls (human) © MD
comkoel_20160111_6.m4a (NW NSW) Pair upsetting various species © MD
comkoel_20160111_2.m4a (NW NSW) Male upseting Apostlebirds © MD
comkoel_20160111_7.m4a (NW NSW) Female annoyed/upset (by Magpie-lark) © MD
comkoel_20160111_11.mp3 (NW NSW) Female annoyed/upset (by Magpie-lark & Apostlebird) © MD
comkoel_20160111_14.mp3 (NW NSW) Female attacked (by Magpie-lark) © MD
comkoel_20160111_3.m4a (NW NSW) Female chased away by Magpie-larks and Apostlebirds © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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