A female koel inspecting a Ficus drupacea fig tree at Tg Aru beach that is about to fruit, having been attracted by the call of a male koel.
Tanjong Aru beach on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu is famous both for it’s delightful shady casuarina trees and it’s wealth of birdlife. These two attractions are connected. Many of the birds nest in the hollow branches of the casuarina trees and feed on the insects that live on the casuarinas. Another reason for the abundant bird life at Tg Aru beach is both the number and variety of fig trees growing in the beach forest and the gardens next to the beach. Two figs, Ficus microcarpa and Ficus drupacea are particularly common at Tg Aru and when they fruit attract hordes of pigeons and starlings to feed on the fruit.
The most reliable indicator of a fruiting fig at Tg Aru are the constant calls of a male koel, kuwau, kuwau, kuwau, kuwau. The black male koel calls endlessly to invite female koels to join him in a fig feast. Koels are fig eating specialist cuckoos which parasitize other birds to bring up their young by laying their eggs in the nest of a host bird usually a starling or crow.