Everyone knows the Cuckoo, or do we? Have you actually seen one, or just heard it? First, it is surprisingly large: about the size of a Dove. Second, in flight its long tail feathers make it look like a Sparrowhawk. Three, the bit about murder is true. A brood parasite, the female Cuckoo lays her single egg in the nest of a Meadow Pipit, Dunnock or Reed Warbler but more than 100 host species have been recorded.A summer visitor here, the Common Cuckoo over-winters in Africa and returns here in the spring. The female lays between one and 25 eggs per season, each one in an individual nest. She waits for the right moment, flies down to the chosen nest, pushes out any resident egg and lays her own: the process takes 10 seconds. One female bird may visit up to 50 nests during one breeding season.
Notoriously difficult to see, Cuckoos perch low down in or on the edge of trees. The few times we spot them here, they are flying.
Listen to the song of the Cuckoo and read more about it at the RSPB website.
5 to remember
todos – everyone
actualmente – actually
asombrosamente – surprisingly
un cuco – a Cuckoo
notoriamente – notoriously
‘RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe’ [UK: Dorling Kindersley]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Cuckoos: easy to hear, difficult to see #Birds in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Im