Banded Bay Cuckoo in Singapore

The Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii) is an uncommon resident cuckoo in Singapore. It is found in forest edge, mangroves, secondary growth, orchards, plantations and wooded gardens.

Recent sighting include areas like Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah, Neo Tiew and Lorong Halus. It is most easily recognized by its call. The male bird normally sings from the top of a tree to attract the mate.

Banded Bay Cuckoo
(Front view of an adult male seen calling at Jelutong Tower in January 2014 perched on a vine at the top of a tree.)

Banded Bay Cuckoo
(Back view of the adult. It is normally seen perched upright as in this picture.)

Banded Bay Cuckoo
(A juvenile seen at Lorong Halus in May 2011. Seen here calling its brood host. The juvenile still have a prominent gape, although otherwise it looks somewhat similar to an adult.)

The cuckoo is a brood parasite of the Common Iora in Singapore. I had a chance to track down a juvenile in May 2011 by the begging calls of the bird. It calls incessantly, and the much smaller Common Iora host parents have to feed it constantly even though it is already out of the nest, and capable of free flight.

(A juvenile being fed by a Common iora with the incessant begging call and flapping of one of its wing to indicate its presence.)

In June 2011, I found another juvenile bird through its call at the same location in Lorong Halus and managed to take a video of the encounter. This is a younger bird.

The video shows its behaviour in the presence of the the host parent, where the combination of call, wing flapping position and opened mouth with prominent gape all direct the iora with food to the cuckoo.

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