A particularly dopey internet bird identification error. It is in Asia



I am just amused by this item and thought I would send on, even though for many of you (I am sending this to groups as “BCC”), it is not about a part of the world that many of you primarily relate to:


I have come across this youtube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4u0ZzM5–k that nicely documents a nest of the Red-billed Blue Magpies, somewhere in Asia. It is worth looking at, as they are nice looking birds. If you don’t know the Red-billed Blue Magpies to confirm this, there are internet links properly showing them, such as: https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tTP1TcwTEvLLTdg9OJOyilNVchNTC_ITAUAWbgHsQ&q=blue+magpie&rlz=1C1GGRV_enAU751AU751&oq=&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqCQgBEC4YJxjqAjIJCAAQIxgnGOoCMgkIARAuGCcY6gIyCQgCECMYJxjqAjIJCAMQIxgnGOoCMhIIBBAuGCcYrwEYxwEY6gIYjgUyCQgFECMYJxjqAjIJCAYQIxgnGOoCMgkIBxBFGDsYwgPSAQkzMzY2ajBqMTWoAgiwAgE&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8




For no reason that I can think of, the person who posted this, “Nature Bird”, who likes to post a lot of other videos of nesting birds (many show cuckoos chicks in nests), thinks they are Koels and so far, at least yesterday, has refused to take advice as to what it is. Yes there are often errors on internet sites, usually on short snippets but I think this is a particularly dopey internet bird identification error and worth mentioning because it appears to be a continuous filming. Maybe you would like to check it and send an advice via the comments box. I wonder how long it will take till the person accepts the error and corrects it. In the meantime, others may be confused.


Talking points:


Just looking at them, it is very obvious that they are normal magpies (Red-billed Blue Magpies, Urocissa erythroryncha), seen here raising their own chicks. Books show there is some variation in this species.


The arrangement of toes (three forward and one back), (if you see them perched front on), immediately shows these birds to be passerines, not cuckoos. Koels are cuckoos, cuckoos have 2 toes forward & 2 toes back on each foot. There are some strange looking cuckoos in Asia but cuckoos look nothing like these birds. Some of the Asian cuckoos are not nest parasites. My reference book says that the Koels that breed in Asia parasitise Large-billed and House Crows.


Clearly, logically, they are not Koels, because Koels are nest parasites. These birds are clearly not nest parasites, there are raising their own chicks.


If these were cuckoos, how come there are 4 chicks? Cuckoo parasitised nests typically only have one chick per nest, because baby cuckoos push out other chicks. Or if other chicks survive for a while, they look clearly different. The reason all chicks look the same, is because they are all magpie chicks. (No cuckoos there.)


Male Koels are all black, female Koels are brown spotted. These two adults are the same. Koels do not have any blue colouring, or the red beak. Like the Blue Magpies have. Koels do not have extended long central tail feathers like these magpies clearly have.






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