Eastern Koel

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Habitat: Urban, Forest

Eastern Koels are found in tall forests and are common in suburban areas.

Usually arriving in September, the Eastern Koel flies to Australia from New Guinea and Indonesia. Increasingly koels are venturing into Victoria, and vagrants have occurred as far afield as the Murray River and Adelaide.

Eastern Koels feed almost entirely in the canopy of trees. Occasionally mixed flocks are formed with other species such as pigeons. Food consists of fruits, especially figs, taken directly from the tree.

The Eastern Koel is a brood parasite, that is, it lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species. Common hosts are the Red Wattlebird, friarbirds, Magpie-larks, and figbirds. A single egg is laid in the host’s nest and once hatched the chick forces the other eggs and hatchlings out of the nest. The nestling period is 35 days. 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 enough food to please 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. Breeding season is from September to March.