Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Fostered Channel-billed Cuckoo

Channel-billed Cuckoo
The juvenile Channel-billed Cuckoo being fostered by a hapless Pied Currawong in our Sunshine Coast garden at Ninderry continues to thrive.

Pied Currawong
But there's a curious twist. The Pied Currawong feeding the cuckoo is bald. It appears to have lost the feathers from its head.

Pied Currawong & Channel-billed Cuckoo
There are two currawongs, presumably the breeding pair, but only the bald one appears to do the feeding.

Pied Currawong feeding Channel-billed Cuckoo

At feeding time, the much smaller currawong inserts it head quite a way into the mouth of the cuckoo (deeper than in the image above, but you get the picture). The extent of feather loss appears to approximate the area of currawong head that enters the cuckoo's mouth. So the question: Is the currawong bald because its feathers have been lost in the cuckoo feeding process?

Pied Currawong feeding Channel-billed Cuckoo

Glossy Ibis
Elsewhere, at the Parklakes Wetlands, the Australian Painted Snipe (1), Australian Little Bittern (2),  Baillon's Crake (3) and Spotless Crake (1) were all spotted yesterday morning.  At a small pool nearby, a party of 15 Glossy Ibis was present. At Dunethin Rocks on the way home, a Nankeen Night Heron was roosting in the mangroves.

Nankeen Night-Heron

Eastern Grey Kangaroo
 Saturday was the hottest day on record in much of the Sunshine Coast, with the temperature reaching 42 at Yandina and 39 at Ninderry. The big adult male Eastern Grey Kangaroo made good use of the birdbaths, as did the obviously heat-stressed birds.

Little Wattlebird

Birding Cooloolabin
This morning some of us checked out the lowland rainforest patches at Cooloolabin and around Wappa Dam, where birds including numerous Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves, Wonga Pigeon, Crested Shrike-tit and White-eared Monarch.
Great Crested Grebe

Wonga Pigeon


  1. That is curious about the Currawong. Do Channel-billed Cuckoos have ridges or something like that inside their bills to cause it?

  2. Greg those are great pics of the c.b.c. and the currawong foster parent. I wouldn't doubt it for a moment that the baldness has been bought about by perhaps the tip of the beak scraping across the head of the currawong; poor Mum currawong; hope this doesn't happen to her again next year; she needs a break!

  3. Fabulous pictures of the Channel-billed cuckoo baby - I do feel so sorry for those poor unfortunate surrogate parents who have to raise them! They will certainly have their work cut out for them keeping the food up to these massive babies. What a great sight this must have been. Good to see the images from Wappa dam also - it is a beautiful spot to visit.

  4. First time I've seen what an immature CBC looks like. Great photos Greg. We have the CBC flying over each morning where I live but don't 'stop over' at my place.

  5. Terrific blog work, Greg. Keep up those beatiful, informative pics & tales from the north. Cheers from Rufous bristlebird country.