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What is that really, really noisy bird?

Wow, but they make a lot of in Sha Kok Mei in Sai Kung we are just starting to hear one male, who has moved from near the football pitch to just near our house. So far his loud calls have been in the afternoon, but normally they are every morning, starting before the sunrise. I actually quite like these birds, and some people find the call a soothing reminder that spring has arrived. Here is the one outside my window..... (s'funny, cos they are easy to hear, but not always easy to spot - just look for those bright red eyes).

IN suburbs of some Australian cities the local municipal council sends out trucks to spray them to make them move on, as a lot of 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.

The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo (Eudynamys scolopaceus).

The Asian koel - like all cuckoos - is a brood parasite, and lays its single egg in the nests of a variety of birds.

Fascinating facts:

- 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.

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.


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