My baby, when are you going to stop growing? Coffs Coast Advocate photographer BRUCE THOMAS captured this special ?mother-and-c
My baby, when are you going to stop growing? Coffs Coast Advocate photographer BRUCE THOMAS captured this special ?mother-and-c

When you?re eaten out of house and home



WHEN it comes to parenthood, the channel-billed cuckoo isn't the best role model ? even if on some days they might seem more genius than irresponsible parent.

Not big on raising youngsters, the channel-billed cuckoo (a summer visitor from Indonesia and New Guinea) lays it's eggs in the nests of other birds such as the currawong.

"The male cuckoo partner distracts the other bird while the female partner slips into the nest to lay her egg," treasurer of the Ulitarra Conservation Society Alice Baker said.

Once hatched, mum and dad currawong are oblivious to the fact they aren't their babies, and only see and hear a hun- gry mouth to feed.

After a couple of months of incessant noisy badgering, the so-called 'chick' has grown to about 50cm in length and dwarfs its currawong parent.

So what becomes of their biological parents?

"After they lay their eggs they stick around. When it's time to go back to Indonesia and New Guinea, they call their young and take them with them," Ms Baker said.

At 58cm to 65cm, the channel-billed cuckoo is the largest parasite cuckoo in the world. Apart from its large size, its massive pale, down-curved bill, grey plumage and long barred tail, make it impossible to con- fuse it with any other bird.



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