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Bird Watch: Is This the Most Annoying Sound of Spring?

Whilst some people find the call of the bird a soothing reminder that spring has finally arrived, most people find the loud, building, and incessant, “wurro-wurro” call of the male of Hong Kong’s large Cuckoo, the Asian Koel (aka the Eudynamys scolopaceus), a little hard to take. Guest wildlife blogger Wild Creatures Hong Kong sheds some light on the noisy neighbour who’s driving many Hong Kongers crazy.



The Asian Koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo (Eudynamys scolopaceus). This large black bird has distinctive red eyes and likes to start calling from from very early, and then continues throughout the day — lucky us! Like all cuckoos, the Asian Koel is a brood parasite, and lays its single egg in the nests of a variety of birds.

Here are the guilty culprits (male and female) …

Photo credit: Andrew Hardacre

In case you’re wondering what sound we’re talking about, take a listen here …

Video credit: Dazzling Nature

So what do you think? Is this the most annoying sound of spring?

Some Fun Facts

  • Their timing is impeccable, with the eggs being laid within days of the hosts’, and the chicks hatching normally just days before the host chicks
  • Unlike most cuckoos, the young koels do not evict the eggs or kill the host chicks
  • Cuckoos are named after the onomatopoeic sound which they produce: ‘cuck-oo, cuck-oo’. Even though the whole family is named by this unique sound, only one cuckoo species (the Common cuckoo) is able to produce this sound
  • One local resident couple call this “the orgasm bird”
  • The good news is that these calls only continue for around a month or two. Each species returns on more or less the same date every year and to the same location
  • The bad news? If you’ve got one this year, you’re likely to have one next year, and the year after …

Read more! Discover more wildlife in Hong Kong and get out and about in the city.

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