Encounter with a young cuckoo

Pallid Cuckoos arrived in the district little more than a month ago. I was a little surprised then to come across an immature individual late this afternoon along Cemetery Road. This species has a short incubation period, just 12-14 days in the nest of the host, usually honeyeaters, woodswallows, whistlers or flycatchers. Once hatched they grow quickly as the host parents unwittingly feed the somewhat grotesque youngster. I’m not convinced this individual has come from a local nest – it may have fledged further north earlier in the season and then joined the southward migration in early Spring.


Immature Pallid Cuckoo, Cemetery Road Newstead, 20th October 2014.


Immature Pallid Cuckoo in flight.


The spotted appearance indicates an immature bird.


The yellow eye-ring, barred tail and distinctive bill shape are features shared with the Fan-tailed Cuckoo.

Correction: It appears that I’ve been tricked and that this is most likely an adult female. Stay tuned for a more informative and correct post on the age and sex differences in Pallid Cuckoos!

One response to “Encounter with a young cuckoo

  1. Hi Geoff, Annie here. Still enjoying your wonderful blogs – thank you so very much for doing them. We have moved to closer to Malmsbury – just off the Daylesford-Malmsbury Rd because I now fly back to Perth and then to Christmas Island once a month for work and its also much closer to my riding instructor. Was watching about 3 shining bronze cuckoos in our trees last night – I am pretty sure that’s what they were but I was surprised at how small they are. We have a very abundant garden (about 2 – 3 acres of a mixture of natives and European trees and shrubs) but the bird life seems a fair bit less than in Clydesdale. For eg, haven’t seen any red-rumped parrots or musk lorikeets or Eastern rosellas so far. And no mistletoe birds. There is mistletoe so will keep my eyes peeled. Are you ever over this way? Cheers Annie.

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