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Malaysian or Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo? Singapore

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Old Thursday 11th January 2018, 14:23   #26
Bryon Wright
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Hi all,
meant H. varius as a definite possibility for some of the photographs not the smaller, Indian Cuckoo micropterus. If the bigger birds have a tail as a big as a hawk then agree sparverioides is the only solution to these. A lot of the northern migratory sparverioides do not have dark, ferruginous upper breasts like in these birds.

With regard to Andy's request about #18. Would suggest look to the oriental, saturatus groupings for this bird not the micropterus, Indian Cuckoo. If it was seen at a higher elevation then Sunda is a possibility. I have a detailed description description of my own of this species. Presumably the immature bird is a Sunda Cuckoo, not Indian or Oriental, if from a really high elevation.

The problem with identifying the Indian Cuckoo, micropterus, is that from the front it looks like a conventional grey cuckoo, whereas both sexes from behind look brown grey, like a cuckoo hawk.

Regret mentioning Hodgson's because lighter tertials are a feature of several species, but Hodgson's it is a likely candidate for Singapore being tolerant of mixed coastal scrub and forest. Those pink buff patches on the upper tertials are a good field mark on an otherwise impenetrable overall brown, vermiculated immature.
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Old Thursday 11th January 2018, 15:51   #27
Grahame Walbridge
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Hi all,
meant H. varius as a definite possibility for some of the photographs not the smaller, Indian Cuckoo micropterus. If the bigger birds have a tail as a big as a hawk then agree sparverioides is the only solution to these. A lot of the northern migratory sparverioides do not have dark, ferruginous upper breasts like in these birds.

With regard to Andy's request about #18. Would suggest look to the oriental, saturatus groupings for this bird not the micropterus, Indian Cuckoo. If it was seen at a higher elevation then Sunda is a possibility. I have a detailed description description of my own of this species. Presumably the immature bird is a Sunda Cuckoo, not Indian or Oriental, if from a really high elevation.

The problem with identifying the Indian Cuckoo, micropterus, is that from the front it looks like a conventional grey cuckoo, whereas both sexes from behind look brown grey, like a cuckoo hawk.

Regret mentioning Hodgson's because lighter tertials are a feature of several species, but Hodgson's it is a likely candidate for Singapore being tolerant of mixed coastal scrub and forest. Those pink buff patches on the upper tertials are a good field mark on an otherwise impenetrable overall brown, vermiculated immature.
What are you babbling on about now Bryon? Don't dig a deeper hole for yourself!

Common Hawk-cuckoo H.varius is largely resident to NE Pakistan and the Indian Subcontinent as far as W Myanmar. In SE Asia it is exclusive to SW Myanmar, though there is a sole historical record from peninsular Thailand which needs verification so, hardly a definite possibility IMHO.

Regarding Andy's post 18 both seem unquestionably Indian. The juvenile, with its broad white-tipped coverts and scapulars etc is a plumage unique in the cuculus genus so definitely not a Sunda.
http://orientalbirdimages.org/search..._ID=&Location=

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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 04:55   #28
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Originally Posted by Grahame Walbridge View Post
Regarding Andy's post 18 both seem unquestionably Indian. The juvenile, with its broad white-tipped coverts and scapulars etc is a plumage unique in the cuculus genus so definitely not a Sunda.
http://orientalbirdimages.org/search..._ID=&Location=
Yes, very distinctive. And on the adult the tail pattern with broad black subterminal band should confirm Indian rather than the Oriental group.
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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 09:12   #29
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John, your link shows a large hawk cuckoo photographed in Hong Kong, but the captions describe it as bocki. Do you know if it was originally designated bocki or is just a synonym based on precedence? Indian Cuckoo appears on checklists from Russia to Australia. I was referring to the resident species in the Sunda Region.
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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 09:52   #30
Grahame Walbridge
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John, your link shows a large hawk cuckoo photographed in Hong Kong, but the captions describe it as bocki. Do you know if it was originally designated bocki or is just a synonym based on precedence? Indian Cuckoo appears on checklists from Russia to Australia. I was referring to the resident species in the Sunda Region.
Where does is say bocki?

Indian Cuckoo is not on the Australian List.

Grahame

Last edited by Grahame Walbridge : Friday 12th January 2018 at 09:55. Reason: here
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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 13:22   #31
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Grahame, I think Bryon is referring to this link originally posted by John, where there is a list of "synonyms" for Large Hawk Cuckoo, bocki being among them. Clearly OBI has not yet separated the two species. As far as I can see, Howard & Moore is the only authority which has so far not recognised the split, so I'm not sure why this is the case. It seems bocki was originally a ssp. of sparverioides.

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...ird_Family_ID=

The images I posted were all taken recently in Singapore during a large influx of migrant Cuckoos, which is why I directed my question at two Singapore-based forum members.

I admit I have been on a learning curve with these birds, especially the Hawk Cuckoos, but have done a lot of reading around the subject and am now feeling more confident.
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Old Friday 12th January 2018, 14:57   #32
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Grahame, I think Bryon is referring to this link originally posted by John, where there is a list of "synonyms" for Large Hawk Cuckoo, bocki being among them. Clearly OBI has not yet separated the two species. As far as I can see, Howard & Moore is the only authority which has so far not recognised the split, so I'm not sure why this is the case. It seems bocki was originally a ssp. of sparverioides.

http://orientalbirdimages.org/search...ird_Family_ID=
The same list of synonyms is included for every photo of Large Hawk-cuckoo on OBI. As Andy says, this is because they still treat bocki as a subspecies of sparverioides. The same practice is used for every species where an English name is used only for a certain taxon.

This bird, photographed in Hong Kong, is certainly a sparverioides, which is a common migrant to the territory (although juveniles are rarely seen), whereas bocki is very unlikely to occur in HK. I never suggested that this photo, or the one in the original post, was a bocki. (Actually, I didn't know much about the difference between the two taxa, and that is one of several things I have learned on this interesting thread).
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Old Saturday 13th January 2018, 06:32   #33
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Both looked Large Hawk to me but I may be wrong. You need to be on site to see them and gauge their size to confirm.

Large Hawk is way bigger than an Indian while a Hodgson's is smaller than an Indian.
Grahame and I have been corresponding about these individuals and we've agreed that the right-hand of these two birds (post 17) is indeed Large Hawk Cuckoo, despite its rather compact appearance. It lacks a yellow base to the bill and has a malar stripe and the subterminal tail band is too narrow for Malaysian.

Re the left-hand bird, you'd really need a rear view to confirm, but I think Hodgson's is a better bet than either LHC or Malaysian. The yellow base to the bill should rule out LHC straight away. The streaks on the underparts are long and rather heavy, there's a lot of rufous coloration on the side of the nape and breast and the tip of the bill is yellow. The subterminal band on the tail (from underneath) looks narrow.

I'm attaching an image of a Hodgson's shot in the same area on 10 Jan, which may even be the same individual.
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Old Tuesday 16th January 2018, 00:18   #34
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Grahame and I have been corresponding about these individuals and we've agreed that the right-hand of these two birds (post 17) is indeed Large Hawk Cuckoo, despite its rather compact appearance. It lacks a yellow base to the bill and has a malar stripe and the subterminal tail band is too narrow for Malaysian.

Re the left-hand bird, you'd really need a rear view to confirm, but I think Hodgson's is a better bet than either LHC or Malaysian. The yellow base to the bill should rule out LHC straight away. The streaks on the underparts are long and rather heavy, there's a lot of rufous coloration on the side of the nape and breast and the tip of the bill is yellow. The subterminal band on the tail (from underneath) looks narrow.

I'm attaching an image of a Hodgson's shot in the same area on 10 Jan, which may even be the same individual.
Agreed that the Jan 10 bird is a Hodgson's. BTW, if you drop by Singapore again, let me know and I could show you around our remaining birding sites :(
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Old Sunday 21st January 2018, 22:27   #35
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Hi all,
Name changes apart, I think this photographer really means, .........Indian Cuckoo (Australian vagrant) photo gallery by Wildlife Images at phase.com. I think they have all the three skins but not sure about Sunda.
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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 05:00   #36
Grahame Walbridge
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Hi all,
Name changes apart, I think this photographer really means, .........Indian Cuckoo (Australian vagrant) photo gallery by Wildlife Images at phase.com. I think they have all the three skins but not sure about Sunda.
Bryon, I cannot get your link to work. My earlier reference to no Australian records was to the mainland. Sorry, I should have made that absolutely clear. Indian Cuckoo is on the Australian List by virtue of a sole AOT record of a female on Cocos (Keeling) Is in Feb 2011-I'd hardly call that Australia.

There no records of Himalayan or Sunda.

Grahame
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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 05:52   #37
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After the Oriental Cuckoo split, we cannot determine whether both Oriental (optatus) and Himalayan (saturatus) Cuckoo occur in Singapore as they look near identical and we do not have any reliable ringing record to nail the ID.
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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 06:14   #38
Grahame Walbridge
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After the Oriental Cuckoo split, we cannot determine whether both Oriental (optatus) and Himalayan (saturatus) Cuckoo occur in Singapore as they look near identical and we do not have any reliable ringing record to nail the ID.
The same situation in Thailand and mainland Malaysia SeeToh, though it may have been recorded in Vietnam (?). Similarly, there are no records of Northern Hawk-cuckoo from Thailand, mainland Malaysia or Singapore but it does pass through Vietnam.

Begs the question-do both spp routinely take a more easterly route to their winter quarters?

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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 15:02   #39
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After the Oriental Cuckoo split, we cannot determine whether both Oriental (optatus) and Himalayan (saturatus) Cuckoo occur in Singapore as they look near identical and we do not have any reliable ringing record to nail the ID.
How about these two identified as saturatus:

Kennerley P 1998: Oriental Cuckoos at Tuas, Singapore on 21st October and 2nd December 1995. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 27 55-57.

In Tring collection there is an optatus with wing length 209 labelled Singapore, number NHM 81.5.1.3291, but for some reason there is no date in my notes.

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Old Monday 22nd January 2018, 15:17   #40
Grahame Walbridge
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How about these two identified as saturatus:

Kennerley P 1998: Oriental Cuckoos at Tuas, Singapore on 21st October and 2nd December 1995. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 27 55-57.
You are right to point that out jalid and saturatus is on the latest version of the Singapore Checklist (2017).

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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 00:16   #41
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How about these two identified as saturatus:

Kennerley P 1998: Oriental Cuckoos at Tuas, Singapore on 21st October and 2nd December 1995. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 27 55-57.

In Tring collection there is an optatus with wing length 209 labelled Singapore, number NHM 81.5.1.3291, but for some reason there is no date in my notes.
Yes I was told that Kennerley did some private ringing exercises at the reclaimed land at Tuas in the 1990s when he was based in Singapore. But I am not privy to his Oriental Cuckoo ringing records. So did his 2 ringing records nailed the ID conclusively?
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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 00:18   #42
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You are right to point that out jalid and saturatus is on the latest version of the Singapore Checklist (2017).

Grahame
What is the jalid you are referring to on the current SG Checklist?
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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2018, 00:20   #43
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What is the jalid you are referring to on the current SG Checklist?
Oh it was Jalid who pointed the ringing records by Kennerley. I thought you were referring to another Cuculus ssp LOL

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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 10:39   #44
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Bryon, I cannot get your link to work. My earlier reference to no Australian records was to the mainland. Sorry, I should have made that absolutely clear. Indian Cuckoo is on the Australian List by virtue of a sole AOT record of a female on Cocos (Keeling) Is in Feb 2011-I'd hardly call that Australia.

There no records of Himalayan or Sunda.

Grahame
Grahame,
we are talking about Ashmore Reef and Cartier Islands. A superb area for observing these birds with beautiful clear images. There is one, long pointed winged individual shown that looks like our own cuckoo. This probably would have been labelled horsefieldi/ii in the past. It has even reached New Zealand, before now. Also there are a number of records of H. varius from the region but inspite of the recent record from Oman they must owe more to skin trading routes than actual distribution. If Bruce from Brisbane said Fair Isle was not part of the UK lots would be up in arms!
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 10:47   #45
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What is the jalid you are referring to on the current SG Checklist?
Hi all,
is this definitely saturatus and not optatus?
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Old Friday 2nd February 2018, 11:11   #46
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Hi all,
is this definitely saturatus and not optatus?
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How about these two identified as saturatus:

Kennerley P 1998: Oriental Cuckoos at Tuas, Singapore on 21st October and 2nd December 1995. Oriental Bird Club Bulletin 27 55-57.

In Tring collection there is an optatus with wing length 209 labelled Singapore, number NHM 81.5.1.3291, but for some reason there is no date in my notes.
Fairly self explanatory Bryon....Peter Kennerley trapped two saturatus in 1995 while the skin at NHM Tring is optatus, also from Singapore. The latest edition (2017) of the Singapore Bird Checklist only lists saturatus (Himalayan) so I assume they are unaware of the Tring optatus (Oriental) specimen.

Grahame

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Old Monday 5th February 2018, 02:44   #47
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Fairly self explanatory Bryon....Peter Kennerley trapped two saturatus in 1995 while the skin at NHM Tring is optatus, also from Singapore. The latest edition (2017) of the Singapore Bird Checklist only lists saturatus (Himalayan) so I assume they are unaware of the Tring optatus (Oriental) specimen.

Grahame
I had spoken to Dr Yong Dingli and he is unaware of the optatus skin at Tring.

Dr. Yong also told me that only one of the bird ringed by Peter is confirmed a saturatus.
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Old Monday 5th February 2018, 16:13   #48
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I had spoken to Dr Yong Dingli and he is unaware of the optatus skin at Tring.
Yes, there is at least one. But it is a different question if it is acceptable as a local record. Skin trading was common at that time. For example, the type locality of Setaria albogularis (Grey-breasted Babbler) is Singapore, but it is not in the checklist either, and surely for a reason.
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Old Tuesday 6th February 2018, 00:24   #49
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Yes, there is at least one. But it is a different question if it is acceptable as a local record. Skin trading was common at that time. For example, the type locality of Setaria albogularis (Grey-breasted Babbler) is Singapore, but it is not in the checklist either, and surely for a reason.
If I am not wrong, the current Nature Society of Singapore's Bird Group checklist is based on the sightings in the last 30 years. As such, Grey-breasted Babbler may have occurred in Singapore before the rapid urbanization era. The babbler is still found in Panti (Johor, Peninsula Malaysia) which is around 1 hours drive after clearing the land border checkpoint at Woodlands.
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