Himalayan Cuckoo & Red Phalarope at northeast of New Territories

Himalayan Cuckoo at Tai Mei Tuk

The Himalayan Cuckoo was seen and heard again at Tai Mei Tuk this morning (30 April).

It is behaving as a bird on territory, so there is a good chance it will stay for longer.

My experience yesterday was that it was coming into tall trees on the slope facing Tai Mei Tuk Road. I was able to see it through a telescope from the end of the road where there's a small rounabout. This is where Kwan, Francis and Siu-ping all got photos. The cuckoo was in a tall Schima superba tree coming into flower to the left and later in a tall Liquidambar tree on the ridge to the right.

When I went up the Family Walk, I got brief views of the bird through binoculars, but as soon as it was aware of my attention, it flew off and went silent. I didn't see it again in an hour of searching. Paul Leader had the same experience this morning. The bird was calling frequently, but when Paul went up the hillside and was seen by the bird, it again flew off and went quiet.

So, my advice would be to wait beside the road and hope to see it in the tall trees.

A quick note on the range & taxonomy. The former "Oriental Cuckoo" complex has recently been split on the basis of vocalisations & biometrics. The two species occurring in China are Horsfield's Cuckoo Cuculus horsfieldi, which is larger & longer-winged & breeds in the far north, and Himalayan Cuckoo C. saturatus, which is smaller & has a more southerly distribution. Himalayan Cuckoo is the one that summers at Ba Bao Shan and Wuyi Shan. There is a large body of Hong Kong records of "Oriental Cuckoo",  all April-May or September-October. Of these only two can be assigned to species, and these were both Horsfield's Cuckoos. The Tai Mei Tuk bird, if accepted by the Records Committee, will be the first record of Himalayan Cuckoo. The call of Himalayan Cuckoo (to my ears) is a mellow 3-note pop-poop-poop! typically introduced by a short sit! note.