the channel-billed cuckoo

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large cuckoo

Spotted this bird on Sydney’s northern beaches at sunset. It is a Channel-billed Cuckoo, a very large bird usually between 60-67 cms with a solid body/chest. It has long wings, long tail and a heavy bill and they like to eat fruit, mainly native figs.. one neighbour has a couple of large native fig trees that most probably attracted them to the area.

When adults they are a blue/grey colour but juveniles are a bit brown. The other one of this pair seemed bluer than this one but it was a little difficult to see exactly as the light was fading and I was on the ground looking up to the top of the tree but it does give you some idea of how solid they look and the distinct red on the bill and around the eyes.

My bird book describes their sound as ‘kork, ork, ork’ and tells me they lay their eggs in the nests of crows, magpies and currawongs where their young are reared alongside the host’s chicks. That must be why my sister said they are often chased by the crows.. the latter probably know what they are up to and don’t like being made the foster parent.


10 thoughts on “the channel-billed cuckoo

    bodhisattvaintraining said:
    December 3, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    The colour round their eyes is interesting!

      margosnotebook responded:
      December 4, 2012 at 8:05 am

      its lovely isnt’ it, ive been amazed since i started taking photographs of birds how many have brightly coloured eyes or eye-rings, thanks for visiting m.

        bodhisattvaintraining said:
        December 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

        At first I thought it was injured! I wonder if it is meant to deter your photos 🙂

        margosnotebook responded:
        December 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

        I thought it must have been eating red berries or something then I saw in the bird book how they have the red ‘splatter’ across their bill. Thanks for visiting.

    cindy knoke said:
    December 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    One thing I cannot do well is photograph birds and it frustrates me. You do a stunning job, every time. I got a golden eagle today but he was being harassed by the ravens so flew very high and his image was clear but not great.
    Your photos are consistently great!

      margosnotebook responded:
      December 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

      well not quite consistently but thanks, its great when they come out crisp and clear and most times when they are a bit blurry like this cuckoo its because they are so far away and even on zoom ive had to crop it down same as your golden eagle (that must have been great to spot) .. any real credit has to go to my camera, the subject, the light and luck!

    Caroline Bakker said:
    December 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Hi there, nice blog. My name is Caroline and I blog about fitness, health, wellbeing, recipes and happiness. You can find my blog on and maybe you’d like to follow/subscribe to my blog too (I just followed you).

    If you need any help with WordPress, Social Media or Logo design, please visit my business page as I’d be happy to help you.

    Anyway, keep up the ‘blogwork’ and stay in touch. Warm regards Caroline

      margosnotebook responded:
      December 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks for following I will check out your blog. cheers Margo

    sethsnap said:
    December 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Cute! Thanks for sharing.

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