Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Asian Koel

Male Asian Koel in Faridabad
I have noticed the female of the species a few times, in and about the trees  in our neighborhood. This time, I saw the male clearly, perched on a branch of the neem tree perhaps fifty odd feet above the ground. Coal black, with ruby red eyes. A master of deceptive cunning, for the way it scouts for crow's nests and draws away the crow in a mock fight which is a signal for the female koel to lay its own eggs in the crow's nest. 

That's a brood parasite. And the eggs look exactly like crow's eggs. Even the hatchlings, except that they are more voracious eaters and innately more cunning, having been known to knock off baby crows out of the nest. 

And it is really surprising that this bird has the most evocative cry, going koo - ooo in an increasing crescendo that cannot escape your mind, not in April. Remaining safely hidden in the foliage all the while. 


One of the most intelligent of birds, perhaps more than that of the crow family and as you can see, the body posture of the bird speaks volumes of its cunning. 

Perhaps they need their wits about them more in these uncertain times, of increasing deforestation and degradation of land. Lets hope these guys continue to thrive and prosper, and regale us with their ringing cries. 

8 comments:

  1. What stunning photos you tok of this elusive bird. Fascinating info. I had not heard of them till now. Right now I am reading H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, about her efforts to tame a baby hawk. It is absolutely riveting, a wonderful read.

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  2. Here in the US we have a parasitic brood bird as well—the Brown-headed Cowbird. Many people consider them to be "nuisance" birds, but I like your description of the Asian Koel as intelligent and cunning. And I agree that all birds will need as much wit and adaptation they can muster in this age of widespread destruction of animal habitat.
    Thanks for showcasing this interesting bird!

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    1. Well, I have to look up that cowbird now!

      Thank you once again

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  3. A simple and enjoyable write up. Thanks

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    1. Thank you Harshad, for your kind words

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  4. Is there a way to prevent these birds from entering my neighborhood? They start cooing from 3 am and destroy my sleep

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  5. Is there a way to prevent these birds from entering my neighborhood? They start cooing at 3 am and disrupting my sleep for weeks

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