Asian Koel

The Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) or Common Koel, is a species of bird found in South Asia, China, and southeast Asia into Australia. It has several subspecies (most considered full species) that converge over a wide range. It is a member of the cuckoo order of Cuculiformes. The name koel means “nightingale” in India because of the Indian Koel’s harmonious call. In eastern Australia the bird is commonly known as the Rainbird or Stormbird as its call is said to indicate coming rain.

The Asian Koel is a large, long-tailed cuckoo. It is about 17.75 inches in length. The male is glossy bluish-black with a pale green or grayish bill. The iris is red, and the legs and feet are gray. The female has a brownish crown with brownish-red streaks on the head. The back, rump and wing coverts are dark brown with white and beige spots. The underparts are whitish and heavily striped. Depending on the subspecies, size and coloration can differ somewhat.

During the breeding season (differs with locale) the Asian Koel is very vocal, with a range of assorted calls. The song of the male is a repeated koo-Ooo. The female’s call is a shrill kik-kik-kik. The calls vary between the races. They are brood parasites that lay their eggs in the nests of crows, with the young being raised by crows. They are unusual among the cuckoos in being largely frugivorous (fruit-eating) as adults.