“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