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Cuckoo: Red-chested

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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anne-marie
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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by anne-marie » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:42 pm

welcome to the forum Biberonsgecko :D
there is a tutorial here... but don't use Tinypic, try Photobucket or Flickr or ...
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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by Scottm » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:37 am

after a few frustrating days of hearing but not be able to see the bird, it finally made an appearance... an unusual and unexpected perch for this species - on the top of a lightening conductor some 40 odd metres above the ground and completely in the clear .... here it sat for half an hour, calling to the world...

Apologies, but the light was poor, being early evening, but any picture is always better for the memory than none at all.

Image
(both heavily cropped and extensively lightened)
Image
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anne-marie
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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by anne-marie » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:59 am

what a chance, wow :clap:
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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:19 pm

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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by anne-marie » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:53 pm

superb :clap:
me too, I only heard here, several time... never saw one :(
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by chirinda » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:17 pm

Help please with IDs :)

And is this a juvenile Piet my Vrou - Red chested cuckoo?
Image

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Maxwell » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:43 pm

The cuckoo is either African or Eurasian. At that distance it is hard to be sure but I would go for African if pushed. You need a clear shot of the beak area. It seems quite yelow.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by chirinda » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:56 pm

Thank you, Maxwell. I took several pics, some on high zoom just to try and ID the cuckoo.
Image
Image

Whatever it was, I suspect that it was a youngster.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Maxwell » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:08 pm

Hmm! that spotted tail worries me and changes my mind to Eurasian (poss female juv. just moulting to adult.)
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by chirinda » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:18 pm

That's the 'English' cuckoo? Funny if it was. I've never seen one in England, I don't even remember hearing one, and there I sit watching one in Kruger. I sat with it for a good two or three minutes.

Thanks so much for your help, Maxwell.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by deefstes » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:19 am

chirinda wrote:That's the 'English' cuckoo? Funny if it was. I've never seen one in England, I don't even remember hearing one, and there I sit watching one in Kruger. I sat with it for a good two or three minutes.

Thanks so much for your help, Maxwell.

No chirinda, that is indeed a juvenile Red-chested Cuckoo. The very dark (pretty much black) upper sides and the dark blotched throat and chest are the key features.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Maxwell » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:23 am

The subject bird clearly has a white throat. It may well be female RC but I stick with my European.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by deefstes » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:20 pm

Maxwell wrote:The subject bird clearly has a white throat. It may well be female RC but I stick with my European.

You're welcome to stick with your European but chirinda's bird is still a Red-chested Cuckoo. :twisted:

The very dark mantle and the blotched throat are only the first indicators but there is more. Common Cuckoo should have at least some light brown (or even white) edging on the feathers (primaries, secondaries and scapulars). Also, the outer tail feathers (which are shown quite well in the one pic) would have white barring on the outer edges if it were a Common Cuckoo.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by chirinda » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:16 pm

deefstes wrote:You're welcome to stick with your European but chirinda's bird is still a Red-chested Cuckoo. :twisted:


Thank you for your input, deefstes, I suspected at the time that it might be a juvenile "Piet".

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Re: Cuckoo: Red-chested

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:35 am

I know this thread already contains oodles of information about the red-chested cuckoo, but I have had opportunity to observe a specific cuckoo feeding habit that has previously only been speculated about…

Let me start at the beginning with the help of a link to another SANParks forum thread. Here you can read the “story” where I tried to paint the same picture, but from a butterfly’s PoV…

All stages of the life cycle of the Garden Acraea release hydrogen cyanide (HCN) from their crushed tissues. Unlike other “predators” cuckoos are capable of dealing with both hairy caterpillars and toxic butterfly larvae. With hairy critters, the pointed hairs are caught up in the soft lining that cover the wall of the cuckoo's gizzard. Patches of mucous membrane plus hairs peel off periodically and are regurgitated. I was not sure how they deal with the toxic Acraea titbits. Some literature suggest that the cuckoo bites off one end of the insect and slices it open with the bill, then shakes it to extract the toxic matter before swallowing it. With the Acraea larva this suggestion didn’t make any sense to me as scientists have shown that the battered larva secretes the toxic fluid on the outside of its body via the multitude of spines that cover it.

Anyhow, a Piet-my-vrou arrived on the scene and from my study window I could observe the cuckoo’s Acraea horta caterpillar feeding strategy in detail. This series shows that the bird does its best to get rid of the gut contents in the larva of the Acraea horta before swallowing.

Not in any hurry, the bird surveys the immediate area…

Image

When it spots a caterpillar it leans forward to grab it…

Image

…deftly just behind the head, nipping through the skin.

Image

It then swiftly transfers the bite to the other end…

Image

…and grips the larva at the tail-end. One can clearly see some green goo oozing from the wound. A shake…

Image

...followed simultaneously by a swallow, too swift to record…

Image

…but in the right bottom corner of this pic the evidence of what the cuckoo ejected from the Acraea horta larva is stuck on a leaf.
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