Samson Tan of manta’s experience… had the good fortune to photograph the courtship feeding of the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea). This seldom-witnessed feeding occurred at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 16th February 2010 (left).
Asian Koels are extremely shy birds, often heard but seldom seen. The bird will always move behind some foliage to avoid being noticed. And seldom is the male and the female spotted together. Thus to observe them together and in courtship feeding is a rare sight indeed.
Payne (1997) reports: “In a number of brood-parasitic cuckoos, including the Spotted Cuckoo and other members of the genus Clamator, the male, having attracted a mate by calling, will then offer her a caterpillar. This mate-feeding is not infrequently followed by copulation.” Payne (2005) quotes Lamba (1969) and Higgins (1999) as mentioning courtship feeding in the Asian Koel. But we are not aware of reports of such behaviour for this region.
1. Higgins, P. J. (ed.), 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds. Vol. 4, Parrots to dollarbirds. Oxford University Press, London.
2. Lamba, B. S., 1969. The nidification of some common Indian birds – part 12. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 66: 72-80.
3. Payne, R.B., 1997. Family Cuculidae (cucoos). In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp.508-607.
4. Payne, R.B., 2005. The cuckoos. Oxford University Press. 618 pp.