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Pied Fantail mobbing Asian Koel

on 21st March 2011

“In March 2010 I posted an observation on birds in the garden ‘ganging up’ to fight against the parasitic Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus malayanus). I have noted this observation a number of times and increasingly so in recent year as the number of koels has substantially increased in volume – from hard to find birds in the city in the early 1990s to one in most housing estates.

“This evening, back from a work trip to Kuala Lumpur, noted another ‘ruckus’ outside in our garden. We knew the Pied Fantail pair (Rhipidura javanica longicaudata) are nesting in the payung Sumatra tree (Hura crepitans) and could hear their distressed calls. Saw a female Asian Koel in our Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) adjacent to the payung tree. Both Pied Fantails were upset, hovering around the koel and trying to get it to leave (below).

“Other birds joined in. The resident pair of Yellow-vented Bulbuls (Pycnonotus goiavier analis) gave vocal support at close range (1 metre) and occasionally buzzed the koel; they do not appear to have nest just yet, so were less aggressive. The Black-naped Orioles (Oriolus chinensis maculates) also gave vocal and physical support but were less persistent. A male Pied Triller (Lalage nigra striga) also lent support, as did a Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis tristis).

“I have no real love for parasitic birds so was delighted to watch their cooperation. They obviously recognised the koel as an ‘unhealthy’ bird at some basic genetic or spiritual level.

“The Pied Fantail pair were in the end the most persistent, having eggs in their nest right now. They called out, buzzed and hit the koel repeatedly with their bodies (above). The koel snapped back with the beak. This went on for 15 minutes, until the koel finally lost patience and flew off with a loud call and the Pied Fantail pair gave chase until out of sight.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Canning Garden Home, Ipoh City, Perak, Malaysia
4th March 2011

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.

Other posts by YC Wee

3 Responses

  1. Happened again yesterday evening (20/03/2011). Heard the nesting Pied Fantail pair distressed and went out to check. The female Koel was present again and they were trying to dislodge her from a nearby tree. My presence helped and they actively chased her until out of sight before returning to their nest.
    Amar

  2. Yesterday evening (20 Mar 11) at about 6.45 pm a female Asian Koel landed with its typical loud and shrill call in a Golden Shower (Cassia fistula), a short distance away from a Broad-leaved Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) where there is now a nesting of the Black-naped Oriole. Just as I had the Koel in my view finder and before I could adjust exposure for backlighting against the sky, an Oriole came along. It was so aggressive that the Koel made a hasty retreat immediately, with the Oriole in hot pursuit.

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