Asian Koel comfort call?

“Taking a walk in the drizzle today, I heard the usual call of the Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea). Looking up, I saw a pair of koels in a bare tree (above). The female koel is on the left.

“It seems strange to me why the male koel was calling so loudly (see video above), apparently to the female on another branch in the same tree just 2 m away. Birds usually have softer comfort calls. The possibility that it was calling to another bird further away dissipated, when the calling bird stretched its wings apparently in comfort behaviour while still calling loudly. In any event, I did not see or hear any other koels in the vicinity of this pair.”

Lena Chow

9 Responses

  1. Tou Jing Yi

    The calls is the typical territorial calls that gave koels the name, but definitely called in a softer tone. Territorial calls are often used as courtship calls as well.

    • Prakash Garde

      The calls do not sound loud or harsh or excited as the male Koels use when declaring or defending their territory. in addition, the behaviour of the male (spreading the wings and tail feathers clearly indicates that it is wooing the female.

      • Tou Jing Yi

        yup, definitely softer, as I mentioned, territorial calls often carry message for courtship as well, so it does seemed likely so in this case, since it only need to convey the message to closer female, it does not need to “shout out” that loud, unlike when it is declaring a territory.

  2. Amar-Singh HSS (Dato', Dr.)

    Appreciate the post from Lena. I have been listening to Koels daily as they live in the neighbourhood. Definitely not “conflict” territorial calls, as these are usually louder, varied, there is another male nearby, and often go on for hours. But the male Koel does call in a mournful way usually at dusk and dawn during the breeding season. They could be calls related to breeding as well as advertising to another male some territorial distance.

  3. Lena

    Thanks everyone for your interesting insights. I didn’t know December was breeding season, thought that was typically March to July. Anyhow will keep an eye and ear out for more calls, and hopefully be able to record them.

  4. Sun Chong Hong

    Hi, Lena

    In Singapore House Crows nest and breed throughout the year. It is reasonable to expect Asian Koel’s breeding to tie in with that of the crows.

    • Lena

      Yes that would be a reasonable assumption. Wonder if anyone has actually seen juve koels outside the March-July period?

      • YC

        A pair of House Crows was nesting in my palm in Oct 2003, Jan, April, July and Sept 2004. The first three nesting periods saw one or more juvenile Asian Koels emerging from the crow’s nest. The last two nesting resulted in problems when eggs were found at the base of the tree. Yes, Chong Hong is right – House Crows breed throughout the year. And koels take advantage of this to lay their eggs in the crow’s nest.

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