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Australian Koel

(Eudynamys cyanocephalus)
Alternative names: "Cooee-bird", "Flinders Cuckoo", "Indian Koel", "Rainbird*", "Common Koel", "Pacific Koel", "Eastern Koel"
Size: 40-46 cm
Weight: 190-325 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Australian Koel at Wikipedia .

Click here for classification information

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range


Click here for sighting information


Lateral view of a male Australian Koel (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Pallamallawa, NSW, December 2013]

Dorsal view of a male Australian Koel
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2010]

Male Australian Koel accompanied by an upset Noisy Friarbird
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

The constant pestering had the desired effect, when the Common Koel first squawked in irritation...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

... before deciding that it was indeed better to move on
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2007]

Female Australian Koels exhibit the typical barred patterns common to basically all cuckoo species, which are not apparent in the plumage of the almost all-black males.

Partly obsured frontal view of a female Australian Koel in a Californian peppertree
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2006]

Frontal view of a female Australian Koel (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Lateral view of the same female Australian Koel as above (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Here seen with its head turned (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]

Partly obscured lateral view of a female Australian Koel
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2006]

Dorsal view of a female Australian Koel
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

The two following photos were taken when a female Australian Koel attracted attention to itself by issuing loud calls from the top of a tree. When disturbed there by a Magpie-lark, it flew into another tree, from where a male had been answering its calls.

Caught "in the act" - Australian Koel mounting a female
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Here the male and female Australian Koel go their separate ways again
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2007]

Female Australian Koel spotted by L. Tonnochy; note the characteristic rufous streaking on both sides of the throat (click on image to see the bird with its head turned)
[Near Townsville, QLD, January 2011]


Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Together with other birds marking the boundaries of their territory by calling from vantage points, we noticed that the local Australian Koels were quiet for two days during a late cold snap in late October 2008.

One male bird was heard by us calling from inside a huge native fig tree, on whose fruit it was feasting.

Food, Diet

Unlike most other cuckoos, Australian Koels are fruit eaters.

Male Australian Koel feeding in a native fig tree; note the red eyes, similar to those of White-winged Choughs
[Deriah Aboriginal Area, NSW, October 2008]


For this species we have recorded the following call/s. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

comkoel_art_20131213.mp3 (SE QLD) Contact call ART
comkoel_art_20131125.mp3 (SE QLD) Male calling female ("cooee") ART
comkoel_20141103_2.mp3 (NW NSW) Q&A (Male first) MD
comkoel_20141103.mp3 (NW NSW) Q&A (Male first) MD
comkoel_20141103_1.mp3 (NW NSW) Q&A (female first) MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.