Friday, April 07, 2006

Confusing Cuckoos

Before Summer becomes just a distant memory, I thought I would post my one and only image of a Golden Bronze-Cuckoo. Taken about 4 weeks ago, it suffers somewhat from the colour caste caused by the Native Cherry it was photographed in.
If separating the bronze-cuckoos wasn't bad enough, I've noted that the 'golden' seems to have undergone periodic name changes. Called originally just Bronze Cuckoo, it later became the Green Bronze Cuckoo and , more recently the Golden Bronze-Cuckoo. The Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, now widely accepted as a sub species of the Golden, had previously been called the Broad-billed Bronze-Cuckoo, to differentiate it from the Horsfield's, which was called the Narrow-billed Cuckoo. Phew!! Confused? I'm still not entirely clear where the present argument rests, particularly regards the sub species, 'Shining'. Early writers talk about its' presence here, and I note one writes(in the 1920s) "Considerable research yet needs to be done on the species of Cuckoos met with in this island". Shining had full species status at that time.

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

I agree, their nomenclature can be confusing! Whe I was a kid growing up in NSW, we had "Golden" Bronze Cuckoos. I reckoned I'd worked out why, one time. I used to collect eggs when I was young and foolish, as a kid, and happened upon a Golden Bronze Cuckoo's egg in a Yellow-rumped Thornbill's nest. The Golden Bronze coating on the egg rubbed off, with a little spit on the finger, to reveal a pale blue shell beneath. Anyway, When we moved to Tassie, I found we have "Shining" Bronze Cuckoos here, which some experts say is a subspecies of the Golden, and some say it's the other way round. The Horsefield's are much simpler (Who was Horsefield, anyway - see Editor's earlier blog!), though sadly much rarer in Tassie. I guess we'll have to leave the nomenclature to others to sort out, and just enjoy these neat little parasites.