Which rainforest animals have you seen lately? Rainforests are rich with different species but it can be hard to find critters through the dense vegetation. Walking quietly through bush tracks last week in Dorrigo, some brown cuckoo doves materialised next to a puddle on the rainforest floor.
Within their range, brown cuckoo doves use an array of forest types from wet sclerophyll eucalypts, to dry temperate and sub -tropical rainforest. When the time comes for breeding, they lay their eggs in stick nests in fern trees or epiphytes such as staghorn ferns.
Brown cuckoo doves are part of complex group of up to six similar species that scientists have lumped together and split apart over the past 100 years. This group of doves live throughout Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines and Borneo.
"Uhh-ooa-wah!" A loud and obvious call gives away nearby brown cuckoo doves. Researchers have tried to use the call structure of doves in different groups to diagnose individual species. Songs differ in each geographic area. With increasingly cheap technology to record and store data, we are slowly beginning to unravel the secrets of such species that are challenging to find and capture.
As frugivores they love to eat fruit. Their diet includes the fruit of stinging trees, figs and flower buds. Individuals do not migrate far but they will move around to access fruit as it becomes available and like many animals, young individuals disperse to find new habitats.
Forest dwelling species such as these brown cuckoo doves have lost much of their former habitat from clearing for agriculture and urban developments throughout Australia. This has left small fragmented populations that are more vulnerable to extinction. With fires recently burning in World Heritage forests in Tasmania, and this week in UNESCOs Lamington National Park, it has never been so important to act on climate change.
Joining a climate strike, writing to politicians to lobby for action and reducing our individual footprint by travelling conscientiously and using renewable energy are all useful and important contributions we can make.