Bird Common Koel (Eudynamys orientalis)


Mors Kochanski
Sep 7, 2011
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Scientific Name: Eudynamys orientalis

Common Name: Common Koel

Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Other Names: Asian Koel, Pacific Koel, Eastern Koel, Rainbird, Stormbird, Cooee Bird, Black Cuckoo

Distribution: Migrates from Australia to New Guinea and probably eastern Indonesia and even further north, but some remain in northern Australia. During breeding season, they are found in northern and eastern Australia, south to about Nowra, New South Wales, although occasional birds are encountered further south.

Habitat: Forest, woodland, plantations and gardens

Field Notes: The Common Koel grows up to 46cm long and typically weighs around 190g. Adult males are glossy black with red eyes, while females are a mottled camouflage. Juveniles are also mottled but can be distinguished from the adult female by the absence of a black head.

The Common Koel is a brood parasite. In Australia, their hosts are mainly large honeyeaters (especially Noisy Friarbirds and Red Wattlebirds). Unlike in other parasitic cuckoos, the young do not attempt to kill the host chicks. When the chick leaves the nest it roosts in the outer branches of a tree, cheeping incessantly while the significantly smaller "parents" desperately search for sufficient food to satisfy the nagging youngster. This is a full-time job, as the young Koel will grow to nearly twice their size. Eventually, it migrates northwards, usually later than the adults, to return as a breeding bird the following spring.

The Common Koel is polygamous, but pairs will bond for a short time during the breeding season before the male seeks more females with which to mate.

Basic diet for the adult Common Koel is almost entirely fruit such as figs, but juveniles and chicks will eat whatever the host parents provide, which in the case documented below, may be insects.

Male -

Image (c) Dean P. Lewis (

Female -

Image (c) Dean P. Lewis (
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Juvenile & "Foster" Parent-

Juvenile Common Koel in my backyard

As above

Waiting for food

Foster mum (anthochaera carunculata - red wattle bird) brings home the bacon

The happy family (Koel is at right)

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Richard Proenneke
Staff member
Mar 26, 2012
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Illawarra NSW
Juvenile Common Koel in our Illawarra Flame Tree



her is a small video of the youngster calling for food.

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