Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

posted in: birds, Migration-Migrants, Vocalisation | 0

Watched a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo (Clamator coromandus) today and was first alerted to its presence by the classical metallic notes it makes; rendered by various sources differently but sounds like a beep, beep, beep to me. Chestnut-winged Cuckoos are said not to make calls while on migration (Wells 1999; Erritzøe, Mann, Brammer, Fuller, Cuckoos of the World 2012). Although this is general true, however there appear to be exceptions:

  1. On a visit to Sandakan, Sabah (Borneo) on 1st May 2016, I heard this bird calling out in the night outside my chalet near the Rain-forest Discovery Center, Sepilok (bird not seen). Similar behaviour has been reported from the Philippines (Cuckoos of the World 2012).
  2. T. Ramesh has a recording of these metallic notes on Xeno-Canto on February 2019 at Serangoon Island, Singapore ( He notes that another bird was seen in the vicinity when this call was recorded.
  3. Peter Boesman has a recording of the fast, grating “critititit” calls (Cuckoos of the World 2012) on February 2017 at Lower Kinabatangan River, Sabah (Borneo) ( He notes that “Three birds responding vigorously to my whistled imitation of their song”.
  4. My experience today…

Today I heard these calls three times over 15-20 minutes. I believe I may have triggered an extension of the calls as I whistled an imitation of the calls. I also heard the guttural “critititit” calls twice but do not have a recording of them.

The classical metallic ‘beep, beep, beep’ calls made today were often as 3 notes (occasionally 2), given rapidly over 1 second. They were repeated 2-5 seconds apart and are of high frequency (16 kHz). A sonogram and waveform are shown above and a call recording is here:


Amar-Singh HSS (Dato’ Dr)

Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia


Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

Habitat: Ex-mining pools & fruit farming next to limestone outcroppings

Date: 25th January 2021

Equipment: Equipment: Nikon D500 SLR with Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR, handheld with Rode VideoMic Pro Plus Shotgun Microphone


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