Juvenile koel with crows

Thong Chow Ngian shares his observations and documentations of a juvenile koel calling out to be fed by crows.

‘On 08 April 2022, I spotted a flock of Large-billed crows, Corvus macrorhynchos (photo 1) making a ruckus at Pasir Ris park. One of the crows was feeding on a rodent (photo 2) and the rest of the crows were calling loudly for a share of the prey. When I came nearer, I noticed an unusual looking bird perching quietly on its own (photo 3), which was slightly smaller and not as dark as the rest of the flock. Its beak was smaller and it had some white scale-like markings on its dark-brownish tail and wings. I observed other physical differences too. Its beak was paler and smaller, and its eyes were brownish instead of black, like the rest of the flock.

It was perching quietly but occasionally would call out to be fed (photo 4). Could this be a juvenile male Asian Koel, Eudynamys scolopaceus (photo 3)? A female Asian Koel would be much lighter brown with dark stripes all over its body and tail.

I did not stay long enough to witness any feeding but it made me wonder whether the juvenile Koel was fed on the prey in its early life, which would be interesting to note as it is common knowledge that adult Asian Koels are frugivorous, fruit-eating birds.

It was the first time for me to observe an example of a brood parasite relationship between Large-billed crows and a juvenile Asian Koel.’

Photo 1.
Photo 2.
Photo 3.
Photo 4.

All photographs are copy-righted to Thong Chow Ngian.

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