Beep beep

The ringing call of the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo can be heard from a distance. They are not easy to find. If you imitate the call they often respond and will come to see who is on their patch. This morning I hear a rattling cackle nearby and thought it might be a Laughingthrush or possibly even a squirrel. Movement caught my eye and some orange colour. Maybe Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush?

To my surprise it was an adult Chestnut-winged Cuckoo and it had come down to the stream to drink. It was heavily obscured but I took a few shots none the less. It flew up the hill and I followed it up to the marsh. I kept hearing the cackling call and then the typical beep-beep, which it repeats ad nauseam. Two birds in fact. Clearly they were settled and a lady later told me she had seen them around for a few weeks. I spent maybe an hour playing hide and seek with them and eventually left with a few frames I thought might serve me well.

I initially wondered if they might be breeding and the species does apparently breed in HK but rarely. It is normally a scarce passage migrant. The bird is large, noisy, colourful and yet still hard to see. They use the Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush as the host species for their eggs. So they would have plenty of choice where we are. The GNL is abundant.

Here then is the cuckoo in all its glory.

Clamator coromandus
Clamator coromandus
Clamator coromandus

12 thoughts on “Beep beep

  1. Although quite a different bird, my first impression upon seeing one of the pictures was also of a roadrunner…not that I have actually seen a real one. Despite all the dried grasses (?) I think you got a couple of fine shots “in situ” as they say.

  2. Quite an interesting bird. Surely not very pretty but none the less a fantastic find. I would love to hear the nail gun sound. You did very well in pursuing this odd fellow. I am glad that you persisted.

    • Thanks Yvonne. I quite like it – amusing rather than pretty. I wasn’t sure how deep the mud was to get into a decent position but it was thankfully not too soft or deep.

  3. What a fine bird! The long tail and the head feathers both are impressive; it’s great that you were able to photograph it. Of course “beep beep” brought the cartoon Road Runner to mind, but I found a video that records that rattling cackle, and that’s a perfect description. It sounded rather like a nail gun to me.

    I wondered if the species name referred to the Coromandel coast. Sure enough, the Wiki confirms that “the species was first given its binomial name by Linnaeus in 1766. His description of what he called Cuculus coromandus was based on the notes of Brisson, who described the bird as “Le coucou hupрé de Coromandel” which was collected on the Coromandel coast of India.”

    I wouldn’t have known about the Coromandel coast had it not been for a fine poem one of my readers posted, and which I intend to use some day — “The Coromandel Fishers,” by Sarojini Naidu.

    • Your research is impeccable. I have a very soft spot for the Road Runner for deeply personal reasons and the beep beep always makes me smile. I shall listen with a nail gun in mind next time. Thanks for the insights.

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