Cuckoo Facts

Cuckoo Facts
Cuckoo is a bird of the Cuculidae family. There are 54 species of cuckoo that can be found in the Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. Only 2 of 54 species live in Europe. Cuckoo inhabits open areas, such as marshes, meadows and fields, but it can be also found in woodlands and alpine areas. They are not listed as endangered, but their number in certain areas declined as a result of habitat loss, decrease in number of birds which act as foster parents to young cuckoos and because of the climate changes (which affect their migratory patterns and availability of food).
Interesting Cuckoo Facts:
Cuckoos are birds of the medium size. They can reach 12.6 to 14.1 inches in length and weight up to 2.1 ounces.
Males and females can be distinguished by the color of their feathers. Upper parts of the males are bluish to gray, and their white bellies are intersected with dark lines. Some females may look like males, except that they have buff colored breast with dark lines. Other types of females are reddish brown or covered with dark bars completely. Young cuckoos are slate-gray and reddish brown in color.
Cuckoo has long and pointed wings and long and thin beak. While flying, it resembles to hawk.
Cuckoos are named after onomatopoeic sound which they produce: 'cuck-oo, cuck-oo'. Even thought the whole family is named by this unique sound, only one cuckoo species (Common cuckoo) is able to produce this sound. Other species communicate by producing different types of sounds.
Characteristic 'cuck-oo, cuck-oo' sound is produced only by males. Females produce bubbling sound, which resembles the sound of the water that is running out of the tub after removing the plug.
Cuckoo feeds on insects and its favorite food is hairy caterpillar.
Cuckoo travels to Africa each September to avoid cold periods and lack of food during the winter in temperate areas of Europe and Asia.
Although cuckoo spends almost nine months in Africa, it never sings while there.
Cuckoo does not build its own nests, because it is a brood parasite. That means that female cuckoo uses nests of other birds to lay her own eggs.
More than 120 species of birds can be tricked to raise young cuckoos as their own chicks, but 90% of cuckoo's eggs are laid in the nests of reed warbler, meadow pipit and dunnock birds. Cuckoo chooses nests with eggs that are the most similar to eggs that she is producing.
20% of cuckoo's eggs will be recognized as foreign eggs and eliminated from the nest.
Female cuckoo lays one egg in each nest. She usually lays between 12 and 22 eggs per season (in 12 to 22 different nests).
Timing of the hatching is very important and female cuckoo closely observes routine and behavior of other birds. Cuckoo's eggs need to hatch before other eggs so that the young cuckoos gain advantage over other chicks and ensure enough food for development.
Young cuckoos are very aggressive toward other chicks in the nest and they will often remove them from the nest as soon as they hatch. When they are several weeks old, young cuckoos are ready to fly to Africa along with their parents.
Cuckoos live less than six years in the wild.

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