Medium bush birds includes species such as Cuckoos and Kingfishers, which are found predominantly in the Bunurong Coastal Reserve, but may also venture into the housing area and creek line occasionally.
Cuckoos are generally heard more than seen, but occasionally they will perch high on an open tree branch to survey the seen. They are spring time visitors to The Cape and are primarily seen in the coastal reserve. The south east sector is a good place to hear and hopefully see them.
Pallid Cuckoo (Cacomantis pallidus)
The Pallid Cuckoo is an uncommon visitor and has been seen in flight over The Cape, where it closely resembles a falcon. It prefers the lightly timbered trees and scrub area of the coastal reserve and the edges of The Cape boundary.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)
A very distinctive ‘trill’ calling bird which heralds the arrival of spring at The Cape where it is heard throughout the coastal reserve. More commonly heard than seen, but recently (Sep 2020) several of this species were seen perched in the south east sector and nearby coastal reserve. They are regular migratory visitors to The Cape during the warmer months.
These birds are renowned for laying their eggs in the nests of other species, such as the much smaller Superb Fairy-wren, Brown Thornbill and White-browed Scrubwren, who then carry out all the parental duties as carers.
Horsefield’s Bronze-Cuckoo (Chalcites basalis)
Another cuckoo heard more than seen. Smaller than both the Pallid and Fan-tailed, this bird, like the Shining Bronze, has a beautiful iridescent back which is green when lit by the sun, along with barred chest and tail feathers. The difference between the two is mainly in the facial colourings, the long dark facial strip the distinguishing feature of the Horsefield’s.
Like the Fan-tailed Cuckoo, this bird also has similar nesting and caring habits. It can be seen and heard in the south east sector and coastal reserve where it intermittently may call from an exposed tree branch. More likely to be noticed by it’s call which is a penetrating, descending and persistent whistle ‘tseeeuw‘.
Shining Bronze Cuckoo (Chalcites lucidus)
Very similar in appearance, behaviour and habit to the Horsefield’s Bronze, differentiated by the facial plumage which lacks the distinctive eye stripe. It too relies on the nests and parenting duties of small birds.
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae)
One of Australia’s iconic birds, surprisingly, they are not common around The Cape AO and are only seen and heard intermittently. The reason maybe the lack of large trees with hollows, which like our parrots, are necessary for nesting. Feed mainly on invertebrates, reptiles, small mammals and birds, usually by pouncing. Often seen perched quietly for some time, acutely focused and attentive on finding its prey.
They may be more common in Cape Paterson hamlet where they would be territorial residents, and they are seen regularly along the Cape Paterson-Wonthaggi Road.