Cuckoo

Cuckoo

(or cuckoo) form a family of birds belonging to the detachment of cuckoo-shaped. The ordinary cuckoo is the most famous representative of this family.

Different kinds of cuckoos have different sizes. In most species belonging to the cuckoo family, the mass hardly reaches one hundred grams, and the body length does not exceed forty centimeters.

However, for all members of this family is characterized by the presence of a long tail, a thin trunk and strong legs. Plumage, as a rule, does not have a bright color, sexual dimorphism in color is poorly developed or absent altogether.

Many cuckoos are nesting parasites, that is, they throw their eggs into other people’s nests (typical of polygam species). Nestlings of all kinds of cuckoos are born helpless – they are blind and naked. Externally, the nestlings of cuckoos are like the chicks of their “foster parents”. Cucuses are rapidly developing, already a couple of weeks after birth they can leave the nest.

Cuckoos colonize forests, but some individuals prefer open areas. In the diet of a significant number of species are mainly insects. The number of species in the family reaches one hundred and forty, they all combine into six subfamilies: real cuckoos, cuckoo cuckoo, Madagascar cuckoo, running cuckoo, cuckoo larvae and colorful cuckoo.

The cuckoo family includes species – the American cuckoo, shportsevaya cuckoo, cuckoo-plantain. Their representatives equip their nests in bushes or trees, and in the diet of these tropical cuckoo data even vertebrates of small sizes, for example lizards, enter.

The life expectancy of cuckoos in their natural conditions ranges from five to ten years.

Cuckoos throw their eggs in the nests of other birds.

This is common to many species of cuckoo that are nesting parasites. Cuckoo chicks tend to develop much faster than chicks of other birds. In this regard, the “foundling” will soon be able to displace the chicks of the bird in the nest of which it turned out. For the same species of cuckoos, which are monogamous, the formation of pairs during the breeding season is characteristic, which subsequently build nests, incubate eggs, and nourish the newly born chicks.

The ordinary cuckoo is a medium sized bird.

The body length of an ordinary cuckoo reaches forty centimeters, and the length of the wing is approximately twenty-two centimeters (the wingspan is sixty centimeters). Individuals of this species have long wing wings and a long stepped tail (its length reaches eighteen centimeters). Ordinary cuckoo externally (in size and color) is similar to a sparrowhawk.

Sexual dimorphism in ordinary cuckoos is not expressed.

On the contrary, it is expressed very strongly. In color, adult females are significantly different from adult males. The coloration of the plumage of adult males has dark gray hues in the tail and back and light gray hues on the chest, craw and throat. As for the rest of the plumage, it has a white color with pronounced dark transverse bands. As for females, their color of feathering from above has either rust-red or brownish hues. Young individuals have either a reddish or grayish color plumage, regardless of sex. In size, the female is slightly different from the male, the body weight of adults varies from one hundred to one hundred and twenty grams.

The ordinary cuckoo has a wide distribution area.

Nesting places of the ordinary cuckoo include European territories, Asia, Africa. Ordinary cuckoo can be found even in the northern polar circle. But the territories of the southern half of Indochina, as well as of the Hindustan and Arabian peninsulas are not a nesting place for the ordinary cuckoo.An ordinary cuckoo that throws eggs into the nests of passerine birds can be seen in the forest-steppe and steppe, in forests and in the taiga, near water bodies, in parks and gardens, on the outskirts of deserts and high in the mountains.

The ordinary cuckoo is a migratory bird.

On a large part of the distribution range, this is indeed the case. The common cuckoo winters in Southern and tropical Africa. Much less frequently, individuals of this species fly to winter in the southern provinces of China, Indochina, Ceylon, India and to the southern regions of the Arabian Peninsula. As for individuals nesting directly in South and Tropical Africa, they have a sedentary lifestyle. It is interesting that, with the onset of spring, the cuckoos immediately leave the wintering grounds, for example, those individuals that nest in European territories fly away from Africa in the very first days of March. However, these birds get to the nesting sites very slowly (within one day the cuckoo flies about eighty kilometers), the first cuckoos arrive in the central regions of Europe only in the last April days. The northern boundaries of the range of the cuckoo’s distribution reach only with the end of spring.

In the territory of the Russian Federation, the cuckoo can be found everywhere.

This is practically the case, if it is a period from May to July. Cuckoo can not be seen unless the northern tundra. Interestingly, in the European part of the country you can see representatives of only one species of the cuckoo family – the ordinary cuckoo, in the central part of Russia – two species, but the eastern part of the country is inhabited by 5 parasitic species of cuckoos. Cuckoos found on the territory of the Russian Federation prefer to settle in forests and parks. Especially favorite places for them are coastal thickets, bushes, glades and fringes along felling.

Polygyny – a common phenomenon in the mating relationship of ordinary cuckoo.

Polygyny in this case is as follows. The male attracts females with his cries, having previously occupied a large plot. He makes the sounds “ku-ku”, it happens many times, and the sounds differ in their loudness. By the way, the cuckoo received its name thanks to this feature. As for females, they are much more silent than males. The voice of females can be heard during their flight, but this is not a loud “ku-ku”, but a gurgling trill “kli-kli-kli.” Its purpose is to attract males. All his possessions male cuckoo tries to fly in one day. Overlying the territory, the male alternately mates with females. It is interesting that each of them is located in a certain area of ​​the terrain. The area of ​​such a site is in the range from two to four hectares. On the territory of its site, the female chooses future “educators” of her offspring from other species of birds, because nesting parasitism is typical for the ordinary cuckoo. In the summer, it does not incubate eggs, nor does it build nests for itself. Interesting is the fact that science has documented cases of the ejection of eggs by the cuckoos into the nests of more than one hundred and twenty species of birds. Surprisingly, female descendants of one ordinary cuckoo usually remember the area where they were nourished, and the appearance of those birds who took part in it. With the onset of a new summer, they return to these regions.

The female of the ordinary cuckoo is very observant.

This requires a specific behavior. The female is not only observant, but also secretive. She carefully monitors the foster parents chosen for her future chick. The female is interested in building a nest, laying eggs. It’s amazing, but the cuckoo tries to throw his egg into a nest with eggs of similar size and color. It seems to reproduce their copy. Having improved the moment (during intensive oviposition), the female removes one egg from the owner’s nest and replaces its egg (in its outward appearance it is identical to the rest). The duration of this procedure does not exceed ten seconds.The fate of a stolen egg is either to be thrown out somewhere, or to be eaten by a cuckoo. During one summer the female is able to produce from thirteen to twenty eggs. To throw it, one at a time in each nest, can only have two to five eggs, and when determining the right moment the female of the ordinary cuckoo is able to detain an egg in the oviduct for three days already ready for demolition. Nest parasitism influenced the physiology of individuals so much that only when a female finds a new nest under construction for future adoptive parents, the next egg begins to form.

The substitution of a master’s egg on a cuckoo’s can be easily detected.

This is not true. This happens very rarely. The development of embryos in the eggs of the cuckoo takes about twelve to thirteen days, which is much faster than the development of embryos in host eggs. Cuckoo chicks are often outwardly similar (and not only externally, but, for example, still in voice) to the remaining chicks in the nest. Having arched his back, the cuckoo’s chick can easily throw out newborn chicks or eggs from the nest. Moreover, he constantly demands to eat and, accordingly, grows rapidly (already on the twentieth – twenty-second day the cuckoo leaves the nest, its dimensions are almost three times the size of the parents). For two or three weeks, parents wander with cuckoos for planting and parks. The radius of such displacements is two or three kilometers from the nest.

The cuckoo damages the environment, ruining the nests.

However, there is also a benefit from it. The cuckoo destroys a variety of insects that are harmful to the forest. We are talking, for example, about pine silkworms and shaggy oak caterpillars. These insects do not eat small songbirds. The reason lies in their digestive system. These insect pests are included in the diet of the ordinary cuckoo.

A deaf cuckoo is like an ordinary cuckoo.

Is that the size is slightly smaller. The ordinary cuckoo and the deaf cuckoo are the closest relatives. The body length of the male deaf cuckoo reaches thirty-five centimeters. The deaf cuckoo is mainly a migratory way of life, it lives mostly in coniferous forests, but you can see it in groves. It feeds on plant seeds and small insects.

Indian cuckoo is an ordinary bird of Primorye.

As early as the second half of the twentieth century, this was the case. Currently, it is rare here. The distribution area of ​​the Indian cuckoo in the territory of the Russian Federation covers broad-leaved forests of the Amur region. The place of wintering for the Indian cuckoo is Southeast Asia. It is interesting that the individuals of the Indian cuckoo also have a similar appearance with the individuals of the ordinary cuckoo. A distinctive feature is the two-colored beak and the presence of a wide pre-tip black band.

свой The Indian cuckoo is prudent.

This is a very secretive bird, so it is very difficult to observe it. This circumstance caused the researchers for a long period of time to have a meager amount of knowledge about this bird. Even in the middle of the twentieth century, the eggs of the Indian cuckoo, found in the nests of the Siberian rogue, were taken for the eggs of an ordinary cuckoo. As for the Siberian rogue, in our days he is the only kind of educator known on the territory of the Russian Federation. Laying eggs of the Siberian rogue contains from five to eight eggs, which are often added to another egg of the Indian cuckoo. Outwardly it is similar to the rest of the eggs in the nest, is slightly larger.

Small cuckoo is small in size.

Indeed, its weight barely reaches sixty grams. By weight, the small cuckoo is inferior even to the starling, but wins, in comparison with it, in size – in large part due to the elongated tail and long flight feathers.

Small cuckoo is like a deaf cuckoo.

They are united by the coloring of the plumage, as well as common types of educators. The latter include chiffchaff. Particularly interesting is the small cuckoo and its kind of educator in the vicinity of the village of Hasan (a small cuckoo lives in the Southern Primorye, and winters in South-East Asia). The educator is short-winged chiffchaff, which is largely original. It is surprising, at least, the fact that the female of short-winged chiffchaff is almost twice as small as the male. Polygyny is characteristic of both short-winged chiffchaff and small cuckoo. The short-winged chiffchaff builds quite large nests that have a side outlet. In one season, a female small cuckoo picks up in such nests, one (or two) eggs, from which approximately on the twelfth day a chick appears. Kukushonok does not lose time and soon remains in the nest one – he simply throws out the nest of already born chicks or eggs in it. After about two weeks, the cuckoo flew out of the nest.

Wide-winged cuckoo has an extensive distribution area.

This refers to the distribution of individuals of this species in the Far East of the Russian Federation. Wide-winged cuckoo can be found in the south of the Khabarovsk Territory and Primorye. However, despite this circumstance, ornithologists are much less knowledgeable about the biology of reproduction of the wide-winged cuckoo, compared with other species belonging to the cuckoo family and found in Russia. Yuri Pukinsky (a researcher in Primorye, a famous ornithologist), for example, called the wide-winged cuckoo a mysterious bird, because it’s extremely difficult to track this bird or find its eggs. But the voice of the wide-winged cuckoo is heard all over the taiga. The voice of the male resembles a buzzing, which extends in time and increases in volume and tone. The voice of the female resembles the voice of a male, differs in tone (lower) and duration (short).

For the wide-winged cuckoo, the main kind-educator is the blue nightingale.

This circumstance makes it very difficult to search for and study the eggs of the broad-eyed cuckoo. The fact is that the nests of the blue nightingale are on the ground. It is extremely difficult to find them in the taiga wilderness. For the first time the egg of the wide-winged cuckoo was lucky enough to see only in 1970, but even then it was taken for the egg of the ubiquitous common cuckoo. It was discovered by ornithologist Yuri Shibnev in the nest of a blue flycatcher. A week after that, from the noticed (larger than all the others) eggs, the cuckoo was born. The blue flycatcher is another kind of educator of this cuckoo.

The wide-winged cuckoo’s egg is large in size.

This is so. It exceeds the size of eggs of all other representatives of the cuckoo family inhabiting the territory of the Russian Federation. As for the coloring of the shell, it is similar to the coloring of the eggs of the kind of educator of the wide-winged cuckoo – the blue nightingale. The color of the shell is bluish-green, light. With shell eggs of a different kind-educator – a blue flycatcher – the eggs of the cuckoo are related by brownish specks. However, in this case, the egg of the wide-winged cuckoo is markedly different from the host eggs. Although this does not prevent the blue flycatcher from carefully hatching an unusual egg and nurturing not its chick. Eggs of the wide-winged cuckoo are oval-ellipsoidal in shape.

The crested cuckoo is a beautiful bird.

Her appearance is somewhat similar to that of the Magpies. The gray-steel color is characteristic of the tailless and head of the crested cuckoo, the brownish-gray color of the dorsal side of the body is adorned with white spots on the wings and shoulders. Sexual dimorphism in coloration is very poorly developed. A distinctive feature of the male is the presence of a hood on the head, which is quite large. The female has a crest, but it is almost invisible. The length of the crested cuckoo’s body is about forty centimeters, the wing is twenty centimeters. The weight of individuals varies from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty grams.During the summer, the female demolishes from twelve to fifteen eggs, which are quite large. Each egg weighs about twelve grams, and this is with the weight of the female itself at one hundred and thirty grams. Eggs are poured mainly into nests of ravenous birds. As a rule, two to four eggs are laid in one nest, which are very similar in size and color to the eggs of ravenous birds. The diet of the crested cuckoo is composed mainly of large insects and their larvae.

The crested cuckoo is a migratory bird.

Depending on where the representatives of this species live. The distribution area of ​​the crested cuckoo covers the territories of the North-West, South and Tropical Africa, the Near East, Greece, France and the Iberian Peninsula. A sedentary lifestyle is led only by individuals living in South Africa. The tropical and southern Africa became the wintering place for the crested cuckoo.

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