Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)


Cuckoos love feasting on insects including Caterpillars and other insects such as beetles and ants. Many of the caterpillars are the hairy or brightly coloured poisonous ones, but their digestive system is specially adapted to cope with the toxins.


Adult birds have slate-grey head, breast and upperparts, and blackish barring on the underparts and white spots and tips on the tail. The female is similar but instead of being grey it is red-brown. The eyes and legs are yellow and the slightly curved bill has a yellow base with a darker tip. Juveniles are similar to the female, but with a white patch on the nape and white edges and tips of its dark feathers.


The Cuckoo is a brood parasite, it lays its eggs in other birds' nests such as Dunnocks and Robins and leaves the host birds to incubate and rear its young. The female Cuckoo will use a particular host species nest and will lay its eggs with similar markings to the host bird's eggs. When the chicks hatch, it instinctively pushes the other eggs and nestlings out of the nest and is then fed all the food brought back by the unsuspecting surrogate parents.

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