Cuckoo…Cuckoo…Cuckoo….

April 21, 2010 at 12:02 am | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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When we call a person ‘cuckoo’, we mean to say that he or she is foolish or insane. But in real life, Itchyfingers think that the Cuckoos are really smart birds. :p

Itchyfingers were walking in one of our parks recently when we saw some movement on a tree. Looking through the binoculars, we were thrilled to see this bird. It was quite some time since Tisu Boy saw it and it was the first time for me. Yeah! A lifer!


The female Little Bronze Cuckoo or the Malayan Bronze Cuckoo
(Chrysococcyx minutillus). Looks so sweet! :p

It was quite well hidden among the densely-leaved Golden Shower Tree (Cassia fistula). Just when we thought we were lucky to have spotted this bird, another bird flew in. To our delight, it was the male Little Bronze Cuckoo! And boy! Like most male birds, he was so much more gorgeous!


The male bird has such bright red eye-ring!


Somehow, this male Cuckoo likes to cock his tail like the Tailorbird
,
something which we have not observed before in cuckoos. It was much more active than
the female…and we soon found out why…


He was hunting around for food to offer to the female as part of the
courtship ritual! Maybe that also explained the unusual tail posture above?


Can you spot the green fat caterpillar on the leaf? This male was quite
clumsy at times during hunting…


Itchyfingers witnessed it missed its target for about two times before
he succeeded the third time!


But he was way too fast for our itchy fingers…! So the next moment the
fat caterpillar was already in his bill…

We were ready to trigger the shutter for his feasting moment but in a flash, the male flew off from his perch and then offered the juicy meal to the female cuckoo! Damn! We missed the action again! :O


While the male was busy looking for food, the female Little Bronze Cuckoo
just sat on her perch looking pretty waiting for the food offer…Not sure
which caterpillar was that…any guess?

Then, from a demure lady sitting quietly among the dense tree, the female Little Bronze Cuckoo suddenly turned violent! The sequential photos below showed her manipulating, flinging and hitting the poor, half dead caterpillar vigorously against the branch in her bill…


Brushing off hairs and squeezing out the stomach content…


…before devouring the caterpillar! Well, guess nobody can resist a
delicious meal…

Hope the female would be happy with the food offering by the male and the two would proceed to start a family… heee… :p

Well, when Cuckoos do start their families, being smart birds wary of the demanding chores of parenthood, they decided to employ some domestic help. :p Cuckoos are known to be brood parasites, which means they would lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species. Again being smart birds, through natural selection they would lay eggs that closely resemble the eggs of their chosen host. What happens next is that the cuckoo eggs will hatch much faster than its hosts’ eggs, and the cuckoo chick will also grow much faster. The older cuckoo chick will then evict the eggs or younger chicks of its host so he can get all the attention and food from the adoptive parent. The cuckoo chick had no chance to learn all these survival skills, so it must have been natural instinct.

So, you would think that the adoptive parent bird might notice that the grown up chick looks a bit different from herself and would chase it away right? Well, obviously they don’t use much of their bird brains…hahah…. 😀 Strangely and in a most bizarre fashion, the adoptive parent bird would continue to bring food to the young chick, oblivious to the fact that the chick was so much bigger than itself!

You really have to witness it for yourself to believe this! Itchyfingers saw with our eyes how the tiny host bird brought food tirelessly to the ever-begging huge cuckoo chick a couple of times. But unfortunately we could not capture a decent photo of the feeding frenzy… 😦


The Golden-bellied Gerygone
(Gerygone sulphurea) with its gigantic ‘baby’

Now, would you still mind if you are being called ‘cuckoo’? 😀

Also see related post:
> A Rare Visitor – Masked Finfoot

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