I’m trying to ID a Cuckoo I photographed and have done extensive searching and reading on the different features one need to take into account…my eyes are looking screw from all of this
I found this discussion on Jock’s cuckoo (starting from page 1 one this thread) and have to say it really helps a lot.
I had a very good look at the photos posted of Jock’s cuckoo…especially the ones posted by Elsa on page two….and am going to stick my neck out (again
) and ask the birding gurus of the forum to maybe just give this bird a second look.
Below are a few things that I have picked up and are interpreting it my way (
)…it will be realy great to get the input of others on this.
From what I read, it appears the feature that sparked the move towards the ID of Red-chested Cuckoo was that from the photos, it appeared that the bird had a dark eye. WTM made the following crop and when I looked at it more closely, I saw something that bugged me. I lighted the image and to me it now looks like the bird has a yellow iris …thus not the dark eye one would expect from a Red-chested Cuckoo.
The barring and red spot on the neck was also used to ID the bird as a Red-chested Cuckoo. In an attempt for me to ID my own bird, I realized that there are just to few photos of the Common Cuckoo taken in SA to really help me…so I went to look at photos taken abroad. I specifically looked at photos posted on the reputable birding group on Flickr….Field Guide: Birds of the World
The group contains photos of Common Cuckoo
and Adrican Cuckoo
Among the photos of the Common Cuckoo, I found the following 2 that shows birds that appears to be in transition plumage between immature and adulthood. .http://www.flickr.com/photos/aalnaimicom/532203388/in/pool-42637302@N00http://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/195484953/in/pool-42637302@N00
From this, it looks to me that it is not impossible for a very young adult Common Cuckoo, for example, to have some barring and red colouring to the throat.
With the yellow iris, I suppose the only two options will thus be African or Common Cuckoo?
As for the markings on the tail, I do not have the trained eye as many of you to really note a big different between the to species. The photos I got on Flickr does not really show the under tail markings of the two species…I did however find some photos on Birdpics
that does show the under tail of both species. (to get to the photo one need to select “cuckoos” under the “photos” link). I suppose the lines on the tail of the African Cuckoo is more “solid” while those on the Common Cuckoo looks more broken/scattered?? On especially the second photo Elsa has posted, the markings in my view more resemble that of the Common Cuckoo…but I’m sure other might view it different.
I battle to find any evidence of an African Cuckoo with it's nostril not being in a yellow area on the top mandible.
On this I completely agree with WTM, I have also not seen one photo of an African Cuckoo where the nostrils where not in the yellow area…actually, on all the photos the entire base of the upper mandible is yellow….this is absent on the Cuckoo Jock and Elsa photographed. Yet, I have to agree that this bird seems to have more yellow on the lower mandible than the Common Cuckoos I have seen in photos?
It will really interesting to get some input on this….it will also help me to ID my bird. I was not able to get a photo of the tail (grrrr!!) …my bird has less yellow on the lower mandible than Jock’s ….the upper mandible also does not have yellow base and the nostrils are in the black area….the eye has a yellow iris. To keep this thread on topic for the Red-chested Cuckoo, I will rather ask for help on my ID in the ID thread, but suppose the discussion of Jock’s bird will be ok in here?