Common Koel

A male Common Koel perched among heavily leaved branches

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 from the young birds by having a dull red eye. The call is an incessant “ko-el, ko-el, ko-el” which is repeated in a rising pitch.  The call is also made during the day.

Where does it live? In September each year, the Common Koel arrives from India and New Guinea.

What are its habitats and habits? The Common Koel is a member of the cuckoo family. The female parasitises the nests of the larger honeyeaters, such as the wattlebirds, friarbirds and Blue-faced Honeyeater, as well as figbirds and the Magpie-lark.

Interesting fact: Light sleepers are immediately aware of its presence due to its habit of calling during the night, often from a perch adjacent a bedroom window.

Scientific name: Eudynamys scolopaceus

Size: 39 to 46 cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store