Cuckoo

(Cuculus canorus)

Alert Status: Red – 78% decline

 

Identifying Features: The cuckoo is a dove-sized bird with blue grey upper parts, head and chest with dark barred white under parts. With their sleek body, long tail and pointed wings they are not unlike kestrels or sparrowhawks. 
Average Length: 32–36 cm
Average Lifespan: 4-5 years
Average Wingspan: 54-60 cm

 

Beak type: Insects

 

Feeding:
Natural: Mainly insects and hairy caterpillars

 

Nesting: The Cuckoo is a brood parasite, it lays its eggs in other birds' nests and leaves the host birds to incubate and rear its young. Dunnocks, Robins and Meadow Pipits are frequent host birds. Each female Cuckoo specialises in using a particular host species and will lay eggs with similar markings to the host bird's eggs, and the young Cuckoo will imitate the begging calls of the host's chicks. When the Cuckoo nestling hatches, it instinctively pushes the other eggs and nestlings out of the nest.

 

Where to see: Cuckoos can be seen throughout the UK, but are especially numerous in southern and central England.
 

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Common Cuckoo by Gabriel Leite, Xeno- ca
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