Is this the most annoying sound of spring?
Whilst some people find the call a soothing reminder that spring has arrived, most people find the loud, building, and incessant, "wurro-wurro" call of the male of Hong Kong's large Cuckoo, the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus), hard to take. - One local resident couple, allegedly from Lamma, couple call this "the orgasm bird", and this has caught on, and is a familiar way to describe this bird with the rising, crescendo of a call. I hope they found their partner less annoying.
Here a male Koel sits in a tree near Sai Kung football pitch.
The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo (Eudynamys scolopaceus).
This large black bird has distinctive red eyes and likes to start calling from from very early, and then continues throughout the day!! I can hear one faintly now, as I write this at 6.30am, on the 14th February.
The female Koel below Picture credit thanks to Andrew Hardacre..
The Asian koel - like all cuckoos - is a brood parasite, and lays its single egg in the nests of a variety of birds.
- Their timing is impeccable, with the eggs being laid within days of the hosts', and the chicks hatching normally just days before the host chicks.
- Unlike most cuckoos the the young koels do not evict the eggs or kill the host chicks. - Cuckoos are named after the onomatopoeic sound which they produce: 'cuck-oo, cuck-oo'. Even though the whole family is named by this unique sound, only one cuckoo species (The Common cuckoo) is able to produce this sound.
- The good news is that these calls only continue for around a month or two. Each species returns on more on less the same date every year and to the same location. - So, the bad news? if you’ve got one this year, you’re likely to have one next year, and the year after.
Here he is, mid call. They have a brilliant red inside to their beak, if you can get close enough to look.
NB: this is NOT the "brain-fever" bird which is much rarer, and less likely to be near residential locations, preferring remoter hillsides; the common/great hawk cuckoo, named by Kipling in one of his poems, which also refers to its "annoying" call that disturbs the sleep and rest of so many.