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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_20151109_4.mp3 (NW NSW) Male calling female ("cooee") MD
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. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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