Caterpillar & Cuckoo in Carallia

Male Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Chalcites minutillus)was trying to get himself a feed while being harassed by other insect eating birds, in particular a persistent Rufous Fantail.  The caterpillar attracting so much attention was the distinctive larva of a particularly bright day-flying Moth (Dysphania numana) which is often seen in the late afternoon and is known by the common name of Four O’clock Moth.

The larvae of Dysphania numana feed on the leaves of Carallia brachiata which is the only land-based member of the family Rhizophoraceae which includes many Mangrove species.  Insignificant tiny white flowers are followed by some very small tasty sweet fruit.

Nearly got it!

5 responses to “Caterpillar & Cuckoo in Carallia

  1. Lovely clear photos of the cuckoo and I like the series of it trying for the caterpillar. That’s an interesting tree – am I right in assuming it only grows up in the tropics?

    • Hi Mick, what I most enjoy about ‘blogging’ is the learning that results from frequently checking facts before and sometimes after publishing. Carallia brachiata is indeed a tropical species found north of Mackay on the East coast as well as more northern areas of WA and NT.

  2. Cool looking Cuckoo, the eyes are neat looking. Great photos!

  3. Hans&Judy Beste

    Hi Allan&Barbara,

    Looking at your photos of this Bronze-Cuckoo,we would identify it as Gould’s Bronze-Cuckoo.It clearly shows some rustiness on the breast and the outer tail feathers are clearly rufous,as is the tail.Getting these photos would have been great,but the two species are sympatric in your area,as we found when we lived in Julatten between 1977 and 1988.Hope you don’t mind us making these comments,but perhaps you have had some thoughts about the ID..

    Yours Sincerely,

    Hans&Judy Beste

    • We agree with your identification but our understanding is that Gould’s Bronze-cuckoo is no longer recognized as a separate species but is known as race russatus of Chalcites minutillus. I should have included this information when I wrote the post – thank you for your comment.

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