13 September 2009

We Have Coucal Confirmation

For weeks some big birds have been skulking about in our bushes. We suspected they were coucals and I was even pretty sure black coucals. This afternoon, however, we were treated to a clear view of not one, but two white-browed coucals sitting in trees and sending out their calls. We'd always assumed this particular call was from laughing doves, but after today there's no doubt that what's referred to as a "water bottle bubbling" sound in our bird books comes from these white-browed coucals. 

I'm not giving up on the idea that at least one of the skulkers is a black coucal. I've seen some flashes of black and rust that seem brighter than the white-browed coucal. 

One of our bird books refers to coucals as "cumbersome." They certainly do not seem very graceful. They plod along the ground awkwardly and they are not inconspicuous when trying to find cover in bushes. The black coucals have a somewhat sleeker appearance, but the white-browed coucals have a blustery look. They make a lot of rustling noises, which you'd think would attract predators. But, maybe they let their guard down in our yard because it's a relatively safe area.

Top photo: White-browed coucal from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-browed_Coucal

Bottom photo: Black coucal from http://www.cse.iitk.ac.in/~amit/birds/index.html

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