Close encounter with an Asian Koel

on 15th June 2008

It was evening, round about 1730 hours. I was sitting under my porch reading. Suddenly there was the loud and distinct swish-swish-swish, reminding me of the flapping of a powerful pairs of wings. Puzzled, I looked around. There, above me was a large bird, flying around and round under the roof of my porch.

The porch is about 5 metres square, with 0.5 metre sides from which arise the sloping roof that meet at a common point. The bird was trapped under the raised roof as it flew upwards round and round, desperately trying to find a way out. And just as suddenly, it flew downwards and out of its confinement. It landed on a branch of the mempat tree (Cratoxylum formosum) across the road (below).

There, tired and frightened, it rested awhile. It was an adult female Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea). And it did not look all that large.

It stayed on the branch long enough for me to take a few shots with my digital camera. Slowly I approached it, lugging my camera and tripod. Feeling threatened, it hopped off the branch to get behind some leafy branches. It continued to hop around the crown of the tree before flying off.

It was quite an exciting experience to view the large bird flying round and round at close range, not being able to clearly see what bird it was. And there was the pair of huge wings making the loud swishing sound.

How it ended under the roof of the porch, I do not know. It may be chasing an insect or something.

Asian Koels regularly appear on my Alexandra palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae), seemingly out of nowhere. But this was the fist time it ended under my porch.

YC Wee
June 2008

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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