Friday, February 25, 2011

Burchell's Coucal

When we first moved into our house seven years ago I was very glad to hear the Burchell's Coucals (known in Afrikaans as Vlei Loeries) - (Centropus burchellii)  in the mornings.  The have a very fast and distinctive doo-doo-doo-doo-doo call which I love.  But although I often hear the birds in the mornings, I rarely get to see them as they are very shy and live and nest in dense vegetation.

The other day I came home and noticed a dead pigeon chick lying under one of our palm trees, but didn't even give it a second thought.  Shortly after I had to pop out to the local Spar for a couple of things and as I reversed out I spotted something out the corner of my eye.  I stopped to have a look and there she was, sitting on the grass and digging into the unexpected little morsel.

"WOW!" I thought.  This is a very unusual sight.  I have always known that they are very voracious predators feeding mainly on small animals and that they rarely eat fruit, but I have never seen one feeding.  I don't even think I've seen a picture of one feeding.  So for me this is a very rare find and I am so glad she allowed me to sit there and take a couple of pictures before she ripped off a big piece and presumably flew off to the nest.


  1. What amazing photos, how lucky can you get? I miss the sound of the coucal calling over here :( Diane

  2. What an awesome sighting. It's so rare for us to see the act of survival. I remember hearing the Burchell's name attached to a lot of wildlife in ZA. Excellent captures.

  3. Great pictures! We used to have a lot of them in my mom's garden - they are great to keep the snails under control. We have grey loeries - and they are so noisy - not the nice, calm call of these guys.

  4. As a kid I saw some Burchells Coucals sytematically eat their way through a nest of bulbuls in Johannesburg in our garden (I could see it all unfold in a tree outside my window on the second storey)over a couple of days. Ever since then I have not been awfully fond of them! I think I would be more appreciative of them now but found it all a bit much then.