Eurasian or Common Cuckoo
About Eurasian or Common Cuckoo
This bird is falcon-like with a small tapered head, long pointed wings, and long tail. Gray above with darker tail; paler below with fine bars on breast, belly and underwing. Male has dark chest, female has paler, brownish barred chest. Some females are red-brown above with dark bars. Yellow legs. Yellow, black-tipped bill.
This bird breeds in spring. Each female lays 1-25 eggs singly in the nests of songbirds.
The song of this bird is the welcomed song of the symbol of spring. Small birds have reason to fear the call if they could understand the implications, for like the American cowbirds, the cuckoo is a notorious brood parasite. Instead of raising its own young, the female places each egg in the nest of another small bird. When the young cuckoo hatches, it ejects the other eggs from the nest, despite being naked and blind, so it can monopolize the food brought by the “host” birds. In a short time it outgrows the nest and its hosts so that they have to feed it on the perch. They usually keep this up for 6 weeks and then the young cuckoo flies off.