Cuckoos

These are renowned for laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving the unsuspecting hosts to incubate the eggs and raise the young cuckoo.Of the Australian species, only the coucals build nests and raise their own young, a behaviour actually shared by most of the world’s cuckoos. No endemic species of this family occur in Australia. Of the 17 species that have been recorded here, three species are known to breed only in Australia, all parasitising the nests of other bird species.

Scientific name: Cuculidae (family)

Common Koel

Common Koel

What does it look and sound like?  The male differs quite markedly from the female in plumage.  It is entirely glossy black, tinged with blue and green, and has a striking red eye.  The female and young birds are more cryptically coloured, with glossed brown upperparts, heavily spotted with white, and a black crown.  The underparts are more buff with numerous fine black bars. Adult females differ fro...
Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

What does it look and sound like?  When sighted, it can be identified by its dark grey upperparts and soft buff underparts. The black tail is notched with white above, and barred black and white below. It can be distinguished from the superficially similar Brush Cuckoo, by its bright yellow eyering.  Its descending mournful trill is a familiar sound. Where does it live?  Found throughout eastern Au...
Pheasant Coucal

Pheasant Coucal

What does it look and sound like? When breeding, the plumage the head, neck and underparts is black, with brown wings, back and tail.  Outside of this time the head and neck are straw-coloured, with paler feather shafts.  The call is also an unmistakable “oop-oop-oop-oop-oop...”, descending in the middle and then rising at the end. Where does it live?  The Pheasant Coucal ranges through northern and ea...