Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

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


Follow 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.

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