Dan Mennill - Bird Songs of the Atherton Tablelands
Brown Cuckoo-Dove
Macropygia amboinensis
Figure 1. Spectrogram of the Brown Cuckoo-Dove song. 
(The first three songs from the sound file are depicted.)
Figure 2. The plaintive Brown Cuckoo-Dove.
Image from Stefan Tewinkel's Bavarian Birds.

Brown Cuckoo-Dove - Macropygia amboinensis

The songs of the brown cuckoo-dove are a plaintive rhythmic cooing. Although they have a gentle timbre, they are very powerful vocalizations that travel a long distance through the rainforest. Like most dove vocalizations, the frequency range of the brown cuckoo-dove’s song is very low, from 500 to 1000 Hz. The song consists of two short syllables, followed by a louder, rising terminal syllable, which is the only syllable audible from a distance. Pizzey and Knight suggest these three syllables sound like ‘did-you-walk?’. Brown cuckoo-doves repeat this 0.7 second song in punctuated song bouts at a rate of one song every two seconds.

Brown cuckoo-doves are among the largest doves in Australia. They are unrelated to cuckoos; they are so named because their long tail is barred on the underside and resembles a cuckoo’s tail in flight.


Brown cuckoo-doves are found in rainforest at both high and low elevations.


Brown cuckoo-doves are found along the entire eastern coast of Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines. 

Further Reading.

G. Pizzey & F. Knight. 1999. Field guide to the birds of Australia. Harper Collins, Sydney.


All information copyright Dan Mennill, 2001 (unless otherwise indicated). 
No recordings, photographs, or other information may be used without written permission (email me at dmennill AT uwindsor DOT ca).
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