In the last few days this Pheasant Coucal has taken up residence in the nearby nature reserve. I spotted it when walking the dogs and it was already some way into the trees. I hurried home switching the dogs for my camera but by the time I got back he was further in the trees and this is the best shot I could manage on full zoom. It does however give you some idea of his beautiful black body and rufous barred wings and tail. It was frustrating but I couldn’t walk too far down the kangaroo trails towards him as I only had sandals on and its snake season.
Pheasant Coucals are one of the large cuckoos, those who follow my blog will remember I photographed another large cuckoo, the Channel-billed Cuckoo, not long ago in Sydney. They are large birds, very majestic and the Coucal can be up to 68cm long.. the channel comes in slightly smaller at 67cm.
Unlike the Channel-billed Cuckoo that lays its eggs in other bird nests to be raised by the host, the Pheasant Coucals prefer to do their own parenting. When they fly they do so reluctantly as if their heavy tails are too much weight to get airborne and make a loud booming sound like ‘coot, coot, coot, coot’. I have been hearing this one most mornings (very early) and late in the evening but as much as I look I haven’t been able to spot it again.
Captured at Look At Me Now Headland, Moonee Beach Nature Reserve, north coast NSW.
Acknowledgements: Slaters Field Guide to Australian Birds 2nd ed.