And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Broome Cuckoos and Their Hosts

I'm looking forward to a big fauna survey starting this week up in Port Headland. It's a long strip of trapping sites running for a couple hundred kilometres south from Port Headland and is in the range of many conservation significant species, such as Bilbies and Mulgaras. Marsupials that have disappeared form most other areas, plus a whole bunch of reptiles that I haven't seen before, from the coastal area of the North-West.

Hopefully it will be warm enough and we should catch some good reptiles, but the birding may be harder as most of the migrants have left and the local birds are quiet, as it's not breeding time. In these northern areas you really need to be there during the wet season or just after a big cyclone to see the birds at their best.

Here are some pictures from my birding trip with my cousin to Broome during the wet season, when breeding was in full swing and lots of cuckoos were there.

In Broome you can get up to 8 cuckoo species at the right time of year. During February, most cuckoos were calling and watching their host's nest building activities, such as this Little Bronze-Cuckoo.

A young Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo that has left it's host parents nest. Over a 100 species of bird in  Australia have their nests parasitised by cuckoos.

Pheasant Coucals were in breeding black and brown plumage and calling from all grassy areas. No longer considered a cuckoo due to their DNA and habit of building their own nests, instead of using host species.

One of the local host species that the cuckoos were watching, a lovely female Red-backed Fairy-wren.

A beautiful male Red-backed Fairy-wren, heading back to his nest.


Stu said...

Great shots, especially the last one.

We 'only' get 4 species of Cuckoo here in Japan and 3 of them look almost identical but their calls are very different plus they choose different hosts......

Richard King said...

I don't like birds that look identical, especially when they don't call!

Fred said...

those photos of the birds from broome are excellent, you must be very lucky to have such a talented cousin. :)

city said...

thanks for share........