It is now summer here in Australia and there is hope of rain in the next few weeks here in Broome. It has been more than eight months now since we had rain and the land is desperate for rainfall. We are all desperate for a change, because you can actually get a bit bored of constant blue skies! We look forward to the lightning shows and the distant teasing rumbling and eventually the rain pours down and nature rejoices!

Although Pheasant Coucals are always around the area where we live we don’t always see them in our garden. As the temperature rises and the available water reduces they venture in. The first indication is the grumblings of the other bird in our garden. The most vocal species is the Brown Honeyeater. They acknowledge the presence of the Pheasant Coucals in the same way that they acknowledge other threats like the Brown Goshawk or a Green Tree Snake. When we first hear the other birds indicate a threat we look to see what the threat is. It is not always immediately obvious, though. The header photo shows a Pheasant Coucal in our garden in one of our larger trees.

Over the past few days the arrival of the Pheasant Coucals has been very early in the day. They have also been returning during the day to drink and bathe. They are mainly ground dwelling birds and really do not look adept at flying. When they are going to leave the property they get themselves as high as possible into a tree close to the fence, so that they can ultimately glide their way out.

Pheasant Coucals

The Pheasant Coucals have a distinct call and it is becoming more and more regular as our rainy season approaches. It “whoops” away from part way up a tree hoping to attract some attention. Pheasant Coucals are cuckoos, but they are very unusual because they actually build their own nests and raise their own young. Earlier this year we encountered a Pheasant Coucal family close to Broome.

We are all looking forward to a good downpour and watching the land rejoice.

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!