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Interesting facts about the common cuckoo

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We found 22 interesting facts about the common cuckoo

Cuculus canorus

They are known for their characteristic mating song, which sounds like the familiar "kuku" repeated in two or three syllables. Another interesting feature of this bird is that wasps do not hatch their eggs, but leave them for other birds to hatch.


The common cuckoo is a migratory bird belonging to the cuckoo family.

There are 4 subspecies of the common cuckoo.


A characteristic feature of cuckoos is parasitism on the nests of other birds.

The common cuckoo has the habit of giving eggs to other birds for incubation. Although cuckoo eggs are usually larger than those of their hosts, they are always similar to the eggs of the species that incubate them.


It is the only breeding parasite in Central Europe.

It lays eggs in the nests of about 300 birds, mainly from the passerine family.


During the breeding season, it inhabits Eurasia from the British Isles through all of Central Europe and Scandinavia, Asia with the exception of the polar zones, the Arabian Peninsula and India.


Winters in Africa in the equatorial zone and south of the equator.

In addition, you can meet cuckoos wintering in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.


Inhabits wooded or shrubby areas.

It does not do well in very dense forests, so it most often chooses edges, parks, gardens, tree stands in fields and meadows, swampy areas and dunes.


In Poland it occurs in moderate numbers as a breeding bird.

The population of cuckoos in Poland is estimated at between 150 and 200 breeding pairs.


Males are slightly larger than females.

The common cuckoo reaches a body length of 32 to 34 cm, and the wingspan of these birds is 55-60 cm. The weight of males is 114–133 g, females 106–112 g.


It has a grayish slender body and a long tail, with plumage similar to a sparrowhawk.

The legs are relatively short compared to the rest of the body. The underside of the body is decorated with gray and white stripes forming striations. Males are dark gray from throat to chest. In both sexes, the iris, eye socket, base of the beak and feet are yellow.


They reach sexual maturity at the age of two years.

At this time they hatch their first brood. The female is polygamous.


The common cuckoo begins laying eggs in early July.

During this period, she is able to produce and lay from 10 to 20 eggs. There is usually a two-day break between egg laying. The eggs are very similar to the eggs of the species they parasitize. This type of similarity is called mimicry and its purpose is to increase the chances of survival and hatching of the planted egg.


Placing an egg in someone else's nest takes a few seconds.

During this time, the female cuckoo throws away or eats one of the host's eggs.


The common cuckoo is primarily an insectivorous animal.

Its delicacy is considered to be hairy caterpillars, which are not eaten by many bird species. It also happens that cuckoos devour chicks and eggs of other species.


Cuckoos never raise their own chicks.

Their task is only to throw an egg into someone else's nest. If the owner of the nest realizes that the egg has been dropped, he may throw it away or leave the nest altogether.


Cuckoos hatch in 11–13 days.

Newly hatched birds are aggressive and push each other, causing other eggs or even hatchlings to be thrown out of the nest and then die on the ground.


Young cuckoos throw other chicks out of the nest to get enough food.

Often the cuckoo chick is larger than its owner and would not be able to survive if fed by other birds.


It is difficult to determine the maximum lifespan of a cuckoo.

Polish sources say that the record holder is a bird that lived to be 15 years old, while foreign sources give the exact age - 6 years, 11 months and 2 days.


Although the global cuckoo population is in slight decline, it is considered a species of least concern.

According to measurements, the global population of these birds ranges from 25 to 100 million individuals.


The cuckoo is a bird that stays away from people; it does not expose itself to people unnecessarily.

It often hides in the crowns of trees and bushes, where it is difficult to see.


The first person to notice and describe the behavior of cuckoos was Aristotle.


In 2003, Alexander Numerov published a complete list of birds on which cuckoos parasitize.

There are 291 species on the list.


The common cuckoo is a strictly protected species throughout Poland.

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