Channel-billed Cuckoo - Scythrops novaehollandiae

Channel-billed Cuckoo

Scythrops novaehollandiae

Family: Cuculidae (Old World (Parasitic) Cuckoos, 11 species in Australia).
Size: 60 cm
Distribution: Within 1000-2000 km of the coasts of northern and eastern Australia, as far south as the south of NSW, with a few patches in VIC.
Status: Moderately common
Habitat: Tall trees
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Channel-billed Cuckoo is Australia's largest cuckoo. Like all Australian cuckoos (except for the Pheasant Coucal) it is a nest parasite. That is, it lays its eggs in the nests of other species of birds. When the eggs hatch, the cockoo chicks kill or eject the chicks that belong to the nest. If you see one of these in a tree, usually there will be a whole lot of other birds all hassling it, sometimes quite severely. The Pheasant Coucal is larger, but it is in a different family and it is not a nest parasite.

Channel-billed Cuckoo - Scythrops novaehollandiae
Photo: Featherdale Wildlife Park, Sydney NSW. High Resolution (2625 x 1998).

Channel-billed Cuckoo - Scythrops novaehollandiae
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources


Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Nicolas Day, Ken Simpson, Peter Trusler Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Nicolas Day, Ken Simpson, Peter Trusler.This is known to birdwatchers as "Simpson and Day". I like the pictures in this one the best out of all the major field guides. The information is still very highly regarded compared to most of the other guides. Many serious birdwatchers think "Pizzey and Knight" (listed here) is the best though. I bought this one since I liked the pictures so much I figured (correctly) that I would spend more time looking through it. I feel that I made the right choice since I love the pictures in this one so much. I have the 6th edition, the current one is the updated version of the 8th edition, which has a different colour cover to the original 8th edition with a black cover. I'm not sure why they haven't called this the 9th edition.

Purchase 8th ed. updated from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase 8th ed. updated from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase 8th ed. updated from Australia (Dymocks)

Click here to purchase 8th ed. updated version from Australia (The Nile)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

Click here to purchase 8th ed. original version from Amazon


Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Peter Slater, Pat Slater and Raoul Slater Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Peter Slater, Pat Slater and Raoul Slater. This is a smaller field guide, and its advantage is it is easy to carry around. Its size is 21.3 x 11.4 x 2.8 centimetres, or 8.4 x 4.5 x 1.1 inches in the old scale. So it is a good one to get if you want to have your field guide with you out in the field. Unlike most of the field guides it also has illustrations of the eggs of all the birds that breed in Australia. It has very good reviews on Amazon.

Click here to Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Click here to purchase from Australia (The Nile) $28.45 AUD (May be unavailable)

Click here to purchase from Australia (Fishpond) May be expensive.

Click here to purchase from Amazon

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Channel-billed Cuckoo - Scythrops novaehollandiae

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