Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some Bangkok Birds

Some very nice little swallow-tailed kites fly around outside my condo. They are compact, small winged birds, not great flyers in the sense of gracefully covering long distance. They are, however, highly maneuverable, and they kind of mill around a small area of the sky making frequent, sudden changes of direction. Feeding on flying insects, no doubt. They look for all the world like tiny Mig-15’s, and if six or eight of them are up there at the same time it looks like a Korean War aerial dogfight.

There are no roosters in my neighborhood to announce the day. That role is taken up by the Common Koel, the notorious Nok Gao Wow. These are enormous coo-coo’s, of all things, fifteen inches long. I saw a female in a cage one time and it still gives me nightmares. The beak on that one was a long, crooked powerful thing, and her eyes were wide with anger. Females are leopard spotted. The males are black. Their call is a powerful, two-note whistle, sometimes given only once, but sometimes given in a series of ascending keys that take on a quite hysterical tone, and not a funny hysterical either, more like the bird has suddenly gone completely mad. These are ground feeders, everything that they can find, up to and including small vertebrates.

Occasional hawks, some drab things that look like huge parrots camouflaged for night fighting, the usual sparrows, etc. Plus, of course, the ubiquitous Rock Dove, the common pigeon. No surprise, they’re everywhere.

1 comment:

fred c said...

Oh! the huge "parrots" in camouflage are the male Koels! The Nok Gao Wow's! Man, that is a big Coo Coo.