At this time of year we start to see young cuckoos.
This juvenile Fan-tailed Cuckoo was spotted near the old Newstead Courthouse last weekend. At first all I could make out was the distinctive profile silhouetted against a bright sky, then it thoughtfully moved to a low branch for better views. Young Fan-tailed Cuckoos lack the richly contrasting colours of the adult birds, instead they are a rich-rufous brown above with delicate barring on a paler breast and throat. Young Pallid Cuckoos are similar but slightly larger and much more boldly marked.
This youngster was most likely raised in the nest of a fairy wren, thornbill, scrub-wren or honeyeater of which there an abundance of options in town. Unlike the adults which are very vocal when they arrive to breed in spring, the young birds are furtive and wary and often go unnoticed as they search for insect prey in trees and shrubs.