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The Rainbird

The Rainbird
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-01-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 160
Exposure: f/4, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 3, Animals from my garden [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-02-05 18:42
Viewed: 7889
Points: 88
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Burchell's Coucal / Centropus burchellii

We had a bird bath in our garden for many years, and recently I decided to move it from way down in the garden, to under some palms and cycads at the front of the garden. The reason for this was that at the 1st spot the birds could sense or see me approaching and chances for taking photos was slim, as they would skedaddle the moment I came closer, and all photographic possibilities would be lost.

I can now open my bedroom window and watch the birds in the bath or on the surface close to the bath, having ample opportunity to take photos. I leave the camera on the bed, and whenever I pass the bedroom, I would peep to see if there is any activity and snap if any bird is bathing or splashing in the water.

Up to now I had opportunity to capture; bronze manikins, doves, sparrows, weavers, dark-capped bulbuls and what I think might be African firefinches in the bath. It is my dream to capture a crow, a mynah, a Burchell's coucal and maybe even a purple-crested turaco (all of these which I have seen and/or heard in the garden). Just the day before I captured this coucal I asked Loot if some of the bigger birds might visit the birdbath and he said he think the coucal might come along at some stage, but he wasn't sure about the crows and the turacos. Btw, this coucal has been a resident in our garden for about 4 years, but it remains very shy and we mostly only hear it.

Great was my surprise when I did my rounds to the bedroom to find the coucal sitting up straight on the side of the bath and later moving in to the position I have photographed it here. I could only get 4 shots, the other 2 on the ground. I think it sensed me and moved away. Hopefully, with time, I would still have better luck.

The last couple of days I was not lucky with the birds in the bath, as it seemed, they did not come there so often as in the beginning. At first I thought it was due to all the rain we have been receiving and they where finding shelter somewhere else. Then I saw a big grey cat, lying closely, and I knew why the birds have disappeared. You could imagine that I was not very pleased with this sight and chased it away. I do not know whose cat it is, but it probably belong to someone close-by as it did not look like a stray at all.

I was on my way to work one morning and decided to peep through the window before I leave as I might me lucky and find a birdie ready for an early morning splash, and what do I find right in the bath? The big grey cat lying in the water! I won't easily forget its eyes looking back at me. It was rather huge, greyish coloured and it was as if it wanted to give me a message: "The bath and the birds are mine, and what are you going to do about it?" We'll still see about that one though!

General Overview
Familiarly known as the "Gewone vleiloerie" in Afrikaans or the "rain bird", Burchell's coucal has a beautiful song that sounds like the deep bubbling of water running out of a bottle. Though you may hear it even on moonlit nights, this song usually heralds drizzly or rainy weather. More often heard than seen, Burchell's coucal is fairly common in the moister regions of Southern Africa.

A dense creeper in ones garden may well attract a pair of Burchell's coucals to nest there, though all you will see of them as a rule is a flash of bright russet as they pass in floppy flight across an open space from one thicket to the next.

Burchell's coucals usually occur in pairs. They skulk in the undergrowth looking for food in the form of nestling birds, snails, frogs, lizards and almost anything that moves. They run well on the ground and clamber agilely through the bushes.

Their nest is an untidy ball of twigs and leaves, measuring up to 50cm in diameter, and placed in a creeper or bush about 2 meters above the ground. Through the side entrance you will see 3-4 eggs lying on a grassy lining. These are incubated for 14-18 days. The downy nestlings look a bit like hedgehogs at first, but develop their proper plumage when they leave the nest after about 20 days.

The weight of the male is slightly less than that of the female. A male weighs between 130-210g and a female 153-210g. Their length is about the same at 38-44cm.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

jaycee, rcrick, Heaven, anilnediyara, boreocypriensis, pankajbajpai, pekkavalo1, eliz, Royaldevon, goldyrs, haraprasan, ramthakur, gannu, Argus, mvdisco, PeterZ, nglen, Noisette, Alex99, uleko, sranjan, bikefifty, marhowie, maurydv, siggi, MMM, anel, eng55, iris, greghume has marked this note useful
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To iris: Hallo SilpaMiss_Piggy 1 03-02 03:30
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-02-05 18:58]

Hi Anna,

A beautiful bird that I have not seen before. I love the pose on the rim of the birdbath. His colors are stunning and the red eye is wonderful. You captured him very well with fine details of his face, wings and plumage. I loved your notes and go along with the philosophy of having a good view of the birds from the window. I thought cats didn't like water!!!


Hi Anna,

Superb shot of this beautiful Burchell's coucal, amazing detail in the plumage, stunning colours, and that amazing Red eye. t.f.s

All the best, Rick :)

Hi Anna,
Nice shot of Burschell's Coucal from your shifted bird bath. Hoping to see more birds from the spot. Regards

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2009-02-05 21:22]

Hi Anna!

It's a couple of minutes past six and I start my day at the office with a short look on TN. There, I noticed your new picture and read your notes with great pleasure. You should become a writer. My English is not good at all, but it's so easy and fascinating to read your narrative style. When I read your notes about the cat lying in the bird bath, I can imagine the scenerey as if I would be there. Moreover, I can feel through your text that you enjoy taking your pictures, as you say it in the end of your notes. This pleasure in taking pictures is reflected in the high quality and in the expression of your pictures. Even apparently simple pictures like the one you present us today get another dimension through your lens. Probably because they first go through your mind and heart...

Kind regards


Hi Anna, Good Morning MF!
A fine capture of this strange (at least for me) and cute bird with a lovely posture and wonderful composition.
Nice colours, details and sharpness too.
Have a nice day!
TFS and cheers,


hello anna,
fine capture . i have also tried the same trick to shoot birds but with little success, it seems that the new place is fine for the purpose, the image is composed well with good details of the plumage, the red eye looks great,
tfs & regards

Hello Anna,
very beautiful work with interesting bird! And I have not seen before this "rain bird". I like composition, colours, details and bird's pose!

Best regards, Leonid

Hi Anna,

Good feather detail on this uFukwe umGugwane and well seen. Good pose and composition making the image dynamic. I am also trying to organise a bird bath at home so we will see what I can get.


Hi Anna,
Excellent capture of this Burchell's Coucal, great low POV, good composition, sharp fine details, bright natural colours and natural BG.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-02-06 0:29]

Hello Anna
Nice capture, good details and natural colors.

  • Great 
  • eliz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 20 N: 271] (1537)
  • [2009-02-06 1:01]

Interesting species in a very nice pose. Very detailed note :)

Hi Anna
Jy het hierdie een mooi in aksie gevang. Dit lyk behoorlik of hy skelm wil water drind
Mooi foto

Good idea, Anna! The bedroom sounds like the perfect hide, and its warmer and cozier!

This is a lovely detailed shot. The plummage details and the red eye standout particularly well.

The bird looks to have noticed something which has enabled you to capture this very alert pose.

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

THis is indeed a lovely shot, Anna, I love the red eyes (a first for me)!
Very well done!
But I do wonder about the bird bath (wouldn't it lead to mosquitoes in a place like India?)

Hi Anna,
A beautiful capture of this Coucal. Superb sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

How convenient to shoot visiting birds at the bird-bath through your window, Anna!
The picture of this Rain Bird, which I have seen for the first time, is very sharp and colourful. You have got perfect focus on the bird's eye.
Thanks for sharing this lovely picture and best regards.

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2009-02-06 6:08]

Hi Anna,

A nice bird in your garden,I know what you mean with ,nice bird,open door (to take some shots) and by the noise of door(or window) all birds gone,tfs and have a nice weekend


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2009-02-06 6:59]

Hello Anna, Reading your note took me to the great nature world. Lovely lovely note and a wonderful picture. Great to have a person like you. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-02-06 7:20]

Hello Anna,
A great capture of this wonderful bird, the Burchell's Coucal taken from a great side POV with excellent sharpness from your bedroom window and well seen against the busy but OOF BG.
Our homes can work as great hides from the appropriate window!
Thanks for sharing this delight together with your informative note.
Have a good weekend, both you and Loot,

Hi Anna,
Beautiful caught of this bird,
great sharpness and beautiful colours,
Excellent POV. and lovely details,
Lovely pose and well presented and composed.
well done.

hello Anna\
beautiful picture
good sharpness and many nice colors
i have never seen before this bird
great shot for my
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-02-06 8:35]

Hello Anna,
One of the best photos of a Burchell's Coucal I've ever seen. Superb sharp details and very close. I've seen them in thick scrub. A great idea to move the bird bath.
Excellent natural colours and a typical coucal pose, showing the bird very well.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-02-06 11:33]

Hi Anna. Firstly thanks for the interesting notes. This is a bird i have not seen before so thanks for posting. You have taken this close up from a good side view. Which lets us see the feater markings with good detail and natural looking colours. well done TFS.

Have a nice weekend.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-02-06 12:34]

Hi Bev,the perspective and the geometry of this pic are one of the best never seen on TN.I'm surprising every day for your class,the details and the colors are impressive (and there isn't direct light of sun,most difficult!),...just my best compliments,wonderful work,have a nice weekend,Luciano

Hello Anna
You are very lucky to see such wonderful Birds in the garden,
through your window
this burchell' coucal is a very beautiful bird, i like the colors of his plumage and his red eye
great sharpness and pose
Have a nice WE

Wow, nature from your bedroom window! You cant get much better than that! Once again a great sharp photo! You have given me an idea, now let me go move the birdbath!!!

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-02-07 4:27]

Hi Anna,
thanks very much for visiting my post and also gave a plesant critique on the hyacinth shot.
This shot is lovely as it is not easy to get such a good pose from the bird. The colours is pretty and the clarity is great.
The red eye is really a catcher and the special stripes seen on the tail.
Such a nice photo to share. We have this bird aslo in my country but it quite difficult to shoot as it prefer to stay in the forest and bushes.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-02-07 7:21]

Hi Anna.
What a cute and natural scene. And I feel myself so close for this beautiful bird. I am impressed that the bird does not feel intervention of the person and the natural behaviour is shown. You have reflected the beautiful features of the bird perfectly. Its colouration, splendid tail, fluffy feathers and impressive eye are reproduced amazingly. My compliments and best regards.

Ciao Anna, wonderful bird with fantastic red eye, fine details and splendid sharpness, perfect focus and lbeautiful colors, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2009-02-07 13:40]

Merhaba Anna,
Her ne kadar bir park ortamında çekilmiş bir fotoğraf olsa da bu kuşları bu kadar detaylı çekebilmek kolay değil diye düşünüyorum. Bakış açısı renkler ve kompozisyon birinci sınıf bir çalışma olmuş.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-02-07 23:50]

Hello Anna,
I've seen the Senegal Coucal and this one looks very similar. A beautiful bird very nicely captured here. I love the red eye and its plumage that you're showing very clearly.
I like the grasses in the background too. How lucky to have this in your garden!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Hola Anna, veo que te gusta el púrpura o el morado... y es que Lithospermun tiene , dentro de la misma planta, diferentes tonalidades de púrpuras. Gracias por el comentario.
Nos muestras un ave preciosa, todo un mundo de vida y colores; estos precisamente son los protagonistas de tu toma. Un bello conjunto.
Un saludos y buen Domingo: Josep Ignasi.

Hello Anna,
Beautiful capture of this colorful bird with excellent details, sharpness & POV. I like it's composition with the water bowl. TFS.


I love seeing birds and animals e don't have around here. This is one of them. A very nice shot, clear, sharp and well focused on the eye.

The best part was your note and the way you made it very personnel.

Thanks - Bob

Beautiful bird Anna!
Nice colors and details, I like the "crouched" pose..
The red eye stands out well also.
I used to go out, sit in a hide, & suffer the cold..
I've simply moved everything near my window now, no worries ;}

Hi Anna,
what a beautiful capture of this marvellous bird taken with outstanding sharpness, excellent POV and DOF in a very lovely composition, i like the "furtive" pose of the bird in a pleasant surroundings.
TFS. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-02-08 13:22]

Hallo Anna.
Excellent composition of this coucal that I first encountered, very beautiful bird!
good close up with a great pose in total sharpness, good colour and details!
many thanks for the notes
Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2009-02-09 6:51]

Hi Anna
Excellent closed up.Great POV and very sharp image of a specie I had never seen before.Plumage detail is also very good.Excellent text.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2009-02-10 6:45]

Hi Anna
very nice colors and sharp
well done.

Hello Anna,
This is a beautiful specie, very unusual to me. You did great by moving this bath! This is a nice capture, well composed and exposed. I love its red eye and as usual, your notes are interesting. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-02-12 4:57]

hello Anna,
What a nice opportunity you have to take pictures from your windows! And this fellow doesn't seem to be a very commun guest. Looks very interesting this bird and what a red eye. I just hope that your water-basin will not just serve now to the comfort of the grey cat!
Best regards from Bern under a snow-cover.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2009-02-13 11:55]

Hi Anna,
Lovely capture of this pretty bird.It's new to me.I liked vivid colors,clear details,POV and composition a lot.Very well done!
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2009-02-16 21:57]
  • [+]

So would you like a Crow and a Mynah for models....use my bed room window...you would also get here large headed barbets, tree pies and some more, and i would like a coucal at the bird bath, along with weavers and finches ...let me use your window...rest of the scene seems to be the same whether South Africa or India... the cameras lay ever ready on the beds to be picked up...we both use P&S..we do not even have to bother carrying equipments if you dont mind...i love Sony anyway and i bet u wud love my Canon ":)

I know these coucals are one of the most evading birds fleeing the second they sense your presence.I lost many chances to grab a shot of the bird during my recent visit to my hometown:(.And here you have one well on show bearing exellent details.I love the colour combinations here.The coucal here in India has different colours.I love the red eye and white stripe that run all through.You must have felt quite elated the moment you spotted the beauty.

Thanks a lot for sharing..and hey,give some thought to my proposition...i wud love it all minus the sprawling grey guy in the tub;)


Hello Anna,
Great idea to move the birdbath so close to the window. I'm surprised the cat would actually lie in the water - it certainly does seem it was giving you a message.

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