Common Cuckoo

Cuculus canorus

Order

CUCULIFORMES

Family

Cuckoos, Roadrunners and Anis (Cuculidae)

Code 4

COCU

Code 6

CUCCAN

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Common Cuckoo is a close relative to the roadrunner and coeval, and lives throughout Europe and Asia. This species is migratory, and flies to Africa during winter months. They prefer areas of open land, and eat a diet of insects and hairy caterpillars. This species is also a brood parasite. This means that hens will seek out nests of other species, push an egg out of the nest, they lay one of their own to leave for the host parent to care for. Common species that the common Cuckoo targets for this practice include Dunnucks, Meadow Pipits, and Eurasian Reed Warblers. The conservation rating for the Common Cuckoo is Least Concern.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Common Cuckoo: Large cuckoo, gray upperparts, paler underparts with dark bars on belly. Dark gray wings; tail is dark gray with spotting on outer edges near base. Feeds on caterpillars, insects and larvae. Wings are held low in flight, depressed far below body at bottom of downstroke.

 

Range and Habitat

Common Cuckoo: Found from Spain to Japan. Western populations migrate south to sub-Saharan Africa during the winter, eastern populations to the Philippine Islands and Southeast Asia. Accidental in Massachusetts. Habitats are almost anywhere, ranging from heaths and forests, to farmlands, open moorlands and marshes.

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Common Cuckoo SONGS AND CALLS

Common Cuckoo E1

Two cuckoos interacting together.

Common Cuckoo L1

Female call is a rising, bubbly, "kwik-kwik-kwik".

Similar Sounding

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo I1

Song is a flute-like "toot, toot".

Oriental Cuckoo EE1

Song is a repeated "hoop, hoop" with the first note higher than the second.


Voice Text

"coo-koo", "klu-klu-klu"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • In some areas it is considered like the groundhog, and hearing it's song signifies the start of Spring. However if it sings too early it forewarns of frost and poor harvests.
  • The Cuckoo lays its eggs in other bird's nests and so is sometimes regarded as evil. It's a symbol of unfaithfulness, in Japan a symbol of unrequited love.
  • There are positive associations as well, linking the Cockoo to fertility and rain.
  • A group of cuckoos are collectively known as a "cooch" and an "asylum" of cuckoos.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X