points to ponder: the koel

all the koel / cuckoos / oake-aws are singing a lot these days near my home they were also singing since my last days off, in Jan 2010 it was still in the cold season at the time but now, it is in the hot season the singing of the oake-aws herald the onset of the hot season hearing them sing brings out different emotions in me usally, it makes me happy but sometimes it makes me very blue I remember the song by ?Sein Lwin a copy song of the popular English song “Gypsy Rose” both were hits during my time “sauung khat than lo cho dae….. sa-garr lay dwe.. hso thu ah-chit yae…. ………….. …………. nway yar thi ah-chain lay ………… pin yan oh..ah-htet kyaw.. tun-tan-cho shwe oke-aw.. oh… lwan bwe……. sar-thin-yet arr… kyaung-ta-garr-peik ein ma-pyan-chin buu….. this song always brings to me, memories of summer holidays the long days at home the idleness of course, during my student days, there was no one specific to be blue about but the song and the oke-aws always made me blue and moody as situations and books make one even if one does not have anyone to “ah-lwan thae” the other day, I saw 2 teachers walking past me while I was taking out Dido for a morning walk the oke-aw was singing on the padauk tree over my head 1 teacher stopped and looked up there were 3 black birds over us he remarked that the one with a double tail is the oke-aw yes, he was right it was an oke-aws while the other 2 were crows I have seen oke-aws before they were larger than crows but very similar but this oke-aw is about the size of a crow and difficult to know the next day, I saw 2 crows going after an oke-aw and realized the oke-aw must have been trying to get near their nest yes, nature is very strange oke-aws do not build nests but lay their eggs in crow’s nests and the hatched oke-aws are fed by the crows, thinking it to be theirs this much I heard from others but I have seen a documentary about oke-aws the oke-aw hatchling become larger than the crow hatchlings up to nearly double their size I saw the oke-aw hatchling pushing the crow hatchlings off the nest by backing and pushing them off it is their instinctive behaviour to get more food not having to share with the crow hatchlings the crow continued feeding the oke-aw the lone survivor until it is much bigger than the crow itself it is a strange relationship between crows and oke-aws instinctive behavior of the oke-aws in Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” it also brings to me our Burmese saying: “Aha Kine Nay Nay, Ah Khet Choe Choe” / “kyay-zuu kann” attitude of the oke-aws. Which is the correct attitude we should aim for? “survival of the fittest”? as with the case of oke-aws or to be correct in one’s behavior and not do anything wrong?

I have looked up in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo
there are different coloured cuckoos mentioned there
including the following:


The cuckoos are an extremely diverse group of birds with regards to breeding systems.[1] The majority of species are monogamous, but there are exceptions. The anis and the Guira Cuckoo lay their eggs in communal nests, although this behaviour is not completely cooperative; a female may remove others’ eggs when laying hers.[13] Polyandry has been confirmed in the African Black Coucal and is suspected to occur in the other coucals, perhaps explaining the reversed sexual dimorphism in the group.[14] The majority of cuckoo species, including malkohas, couas, coucals, and roadrunners and most other American cuckoos, build their own nests, although a large minority engage in brood parasitism (see below). Most of these species nest in trees or bushes, but the coucals lay their eggs in nests on the ground or in low shrubs. Though on some occasions non-parasitic cuckoos parasitize other species, the parent still helps feed the chick.

Non-parasitic cuckoos, like most other non-passerines, lay white eggs, but many of the parasitic species lay coloured eggs to match those of their passerine hosts.

The young of all species are altricial. Non-parasitic cuckoos leave the nest before they can fly, and some New World species have the shortest incubation periods among birds.[13]

[edit] Brood parasitism

About 56 of the Old World species and 3 of the New World species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds.[13] These species are obligate brood parasites, meaning that they only reproduce in this fashion. This behavior has led to the entry of the term cuckold into the English language, which describes a man with an unfaithful wife. In addition to the above noted species, yet others sometimes engage in non-obligate brood parasitism, laying their eggs in the nests of members of their own species in addition to raising their own young. The best-known example is the European Common Cuckoo. The shells of the eggs of brood-parasites is usually thick.[15] They have two distinct layers with an outer chalky layer that is believed to provide resistance to cracking when the eggs are dropped in the host nest.[16] The cuckoo egg hatches earlier than the host’s, and the cuckoo chick grows faster; in most cases the chick evicts the eggs or young of the host species. The chick has no time to learn this behavior, so it must be an instinct passed on genetically. The chick encourages the host to keep pace with its high growth rate with its rapid begging call [17] and the chick’s open mouth which serves as a sign stimulus [18].

Female parasitic cuckoos specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host. This has been produced by natural selection, as some birds are able to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own, leading to those eggs least like the host’s being thrown out of the nest.[18] Host species may engage in more direct action to prevent cuckoos laying eggs in their nest in the first place – birds whose nests are at high risk of cuckoo-contamination are known to mob cuckoos to drive them out of the area.[19] Parasitic cuckoos are grouped into gentes, with each gens specializing in a particular host. There is some evidence that the gentes are genetically different from one another. Host specificity is enhanced by the need to imitate the eggs of the host.
there is much we do not know
and can learn anytime if we have the will and the means to do so
we are never too old to learn


Very interesting. Thanks a lot.

In summary ……

Family also includes – roadrunners, koels, malcohas, couas, coucals, anis

Size – Medium (dove size), ranges from Little Bronze Cuckoo – 6” / 17 Gram
Channel-billed Cuckoo – 25” / 630 Gram (1.4 lbs)

Distinguising feature – Feet – 2 inner toes pointed forward / 2 outer backward
– Tail – Long tails (majority) for steering/rudder

Habitat – All continents except Antarctica

Behaviour –  solitary birds, seldom occur in pairs or groups
–   generally shy, more often heard than see, highly secretive

Feeding – insects, insect larva, caterpillars, (lizards, snakes, small rodents, other birds)

Breeding – majority – Monogamous (having only one sexual partnet at any one time)

majority – build their own nests (trees, bushes, ground, low shrubs)
– lay white eggs

– leave the nest before they can fly

large minority – brood parasitism
– lay their eggs in other birds’ nests (may  remove others’ eggs when laying hers)
– lay coloured eggs to match those of their hosts
– Female parasitic cuckoos specialize and lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host (natural selection)

– some birds are able to distinguish cuckoo eggs from their own, leading to those eggs least like the host’s being thrown out of the nest.

– some chicks are fed by 3 separate foster-parent species

– cuckoo egg hatches earlier than the host’s

– cuckoo chick grows faster
– in most cases the chick evicts the eggs or young of the host species (instinct)
– the chick encourages the host to keep pace with its high growth rate with its rapid begging call and its open mouth


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