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Hawk: African Cuckoo

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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wondercloak
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Hawk: African Cuckoo

Unread postby wondercloak » Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:22 pm

I saw a Cuckoo Hawk, sat quietly, deep in a bush next to the low water bridge near Skukuza.

This remains one of my favourite bird sightings ever. How many others have seen this beautiful raptor, as I have only seen it the once and have never met anyone else who's seen it!?

If possible, a little information on the status of the bird in knp (or an alternative park where maybe it's more common?) would be welcome - as I don't have my bird books with me over here at the moment. For example, is it a migrant? Is it common? If not, where else would you be likely to see it.

If you've seen one, where?
- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan

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Gary
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Unread postby Gary » Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:08 pm

Looking through the Atlas of SA birds it looks like Kruger would definately be the best National Park to see it, although Northern KZN is probably the best area overall.
The mean reporting rate for its range was 2.3% (ie. uncommon to scarce!!) It tends to be secretive, liking woodlands, forests and riparian habitats (where you saw it). It also forages in and around dense habits - moving from tree to tree slowly - remaining characteristically still
It's resident with no seasonal movement known.
Likes Chameleons :o and also a few lizards, snakes and insects.

I've never seen one but it certainly would be high up my list of memorable birds if I did.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:23 am

Lower Sabie have had some very reliable sightings.
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Unread postby Snoobab » Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:59 am

I think Gary has answered most of your questions. Kruger is a good park to find this bird but as stated it is uncommon and tricky to find. It is very similar to African Goshawk and I think often people misidentify it.
Search the trees on most of Kruger rivers and you just might get lucky. I have also heard of good sightings at Skakuza with the bird flying in the vacinity of the old train bridge.

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:02 am

So in other words Snoobab, the day visitors area near Skukuza might be a possible place to go look for it?
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Unread postby Snoobab » Wed Jan 11, 2006 8:28 am

I haven't seen the bird yet but my folks have seen it twice from the day visitor section. When they stayed at Skukuza last they went to the day visitor section first thing in the morning and that was when they saw the bird. I spoke to a guy who claimed that he had seen the bird from the river front lawn at the restaurant in Skukuza. I have not been to Skukuza for at least 4 yrs but going to LS this year and will def pop into the day visitor section to see if I can spot this one.

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Unread postby wondercloak » Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:40 am

Thank you all, especially Gary, that all seems to fit the bill, exactly the habitat & behaviour.

I'll be making sure a trip along the sabie between LS & Skuk happens on my visit in April.

I do love sitting on the low bridges & having a good look, if you take your time it's always amazing what you can see.

..roll on April baby!...

If anyone else knows of any other sightings it would be interesting to know where.
- Mopani 21 to 23 Dec
- Shimuwini 30 Dec to 1 Jan
- Punda Maria 2 Jan
- Limpopo Tented Camp 3 to 5 Jan
- Leokwe 6 to 7 Jan

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Unread postby johanrebel » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:25 pm

If anyone else knows of any other sightings it would be interesting to know where.


I saw one last week flying over the riverine gallery forest on the northern banks of the Levuvhu River, roughly halfway between the bridge and Crooks Corner. This was early morning.

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Unread postby Boulder » Thu Nov 09, 2006 7:53 pm

I must have seen the same one ...early in the morning at Pafuri picnic spot....didn't know what it was and the nicest chap who works there told me it was a Cuckoo Hawk. Had a look in our Sasol book and sure enough there was a new bird for me!!
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Unread postby DinkyBird » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:43 pm

The "nicest chap who works there" must be Frank - did he sport a pair of binocs with a yellow ribbon attached? Frank sure knows his birds!
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Unread postby Boulder » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:04 pm

DinkyBird wrote:The "nicest chap who works there" must be Frank - did he sport a pair of binocs with a yellow ribbon attached? Frank sure knows his birds!


It must be him because later he showed us and another family from Ladybrand a Heuglins Robin and he did have some binos ...ribbon I cant remember.
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Unread postby Johann » Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:00 pm

Ok here is my opinion.

@WTM: Well.. looking at the angle of the top branch in relation to the branch bottom right and light falling into picture I would say there's a bird in there somewhere :tongue:
No, seriously. I don't want to get your hopes up but it looks to me like an African Cuckoo Hawk. The grey and black bands on the tail and small crest (think that's what I see) pointed me towards ACH. 8)
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Unread postby Neil Crawford » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:29 pm

Hi, Heres a hawk from Blyde river canyon, it was first identified as African Goshawk, but on second thoughts I think it's an African Cuckoo hawk. What do you think?
Sorry it's very heavily cropped.
/Neil
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2263/222 ... db44_m.jpg
Image

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Jay
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Unread postby Jay » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:46 pm

think your second diagnosis is correct Neil :wink:

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue May 27, 2008 9:59 am

Neil Crawford wrote:Hi, Heres a hawk from Blyde river canyon, it was first identified as African Goshawk, but on second thoughts I think it's an African Cuckoo hawk. What do you think?
Sorry it's very heavily cropped.
/Neil
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2263/222 ... db44_m.jpg
Image


Hi Neil, an African Goshawk has barring all the way up to the throat. The bird in question here has two-toned under parts.

Only one bird has a grey throat and rufous barred breast and belly with rufous under wing coverts. And that is Cuckoo Hawk. Awesome sighting!


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