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

By Sophie Pettit 12 April 2018

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.


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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) ... [caption id="attachment_114082" align="alignnone" width="548"] Photo credit: Andrew Hardacre[/caption] In case you're wondering what sound we're talking about, take a listen here ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtJsgSwJSk8&list=PL-A6EPNFGPl-KfR2_EyuHBTfrMdp1yoa8 Video credit: Dazzling Nature

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

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

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Sophie is always on the lookout for a great story and her next big adventure and loves nothing more than discovering the city’s hidden gems—and most delicious cocktails. When she’s not exploring new places, she’s off travelling and ticking countries off her bucket list.

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