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Pacific Koel

Eudynamys orientalis

The Pacific koel (Eudynamys orientalis), also known as the eastern koel, is a striking species of cuckoo. Males are cloaked in a glossy black plumage with iridescent blue and green hues, and their eyes are a piercing red. Females, on the other hand, display a more cryptic coloration with brown backs adorned with white spots, and their underparts are a creamy hue, finely barred with black. The young birds take after the female in appearance but can be distinguished by their dark eyes.

Identification Tips

To identify the Pacific koel, look for the male's glossy black plumage and red eyes. Females are more subdued in color but can be recognized by their spotted brown upperparts and striped underbelly. Juveniles resemble females but lack the red eyes.


The Pacific koel frequents a variety of environments, including forests, woodlands, plantations, and even urban gardens. Its adaptability allows it to thrive in a range of settings from Wallacea to the Solomon Islands and into northern and eastern Australia.


This bird's range extends from the central Moluccas through the Lesser Sunda Islands, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, and into Australia, where it is a familiar harbinger of the spring season.


The Pacific koel is known for its brood parasitism, laying eggs in the nests of large honeyeaters like the noisy friarbird and red wattlebird. Unlike many cuckoos, the koel's chicks do not harm their nestmates. This species is also noted for its vocal duets, which suggest a form of short-term pair bonding within its polygynous mating system.

Song & Calls

The male koel's call is a distinctive and often relentless sound that marks its territory and signals its availability to females. This calling can become a point of contention for humans, as it persists day and night during the breeding season.


As a brood parasite, the Pacific koel relies on other species to raise its young. It does not form long-term pair bonds, but vocal communication plays a key role in its breeding behavior.

Similar Species

The Pacific koel can be confused with other cuckoos, but its distinctive call, red eyes (in males), and the female's specific plumage pattern help differentiate it.

Diet and Feeding

Adult Pacific koels are largely frugivorous, enjoying a diet of fruits, which they also share with their young.

Conservation status

The Pacific koel is currently not rated by the IUCN, but the Australian population, included within this species, is classified as Least Concern, indicating a stable presence in the wild.

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Pacific Koels on Birda


More Cuckoos

A photo of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis
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