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Cuckoo, Common (Cuculus canorus)

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
gavinp
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Long tailed cuckoo ?

Unread post by gavinp » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:52 am

Hi everbody, just returned from Kruger. Saw this guy yesterday and need confirmation that he is a long tailed Cuckoo ?

We saw him just south of lower Sabie on the river, he would fly onto the ground peck at something and then perch again on top of the next branch

Image

gavinp
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Re: Long tailed cuckoo ?

Unread post by gavinp » Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:35 pm

Anybody ? Am i on the wrong track with him ?

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Long tailed cuckoo ?

Unread post by Lizet Grobbelaar » Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:13 pm

gavinp wrote: confirmation that he is a long tailed Cuckoo ?
Image


gavinp,

No it's not a Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, but rather a young Common cuckoo. Reasons being the rufous barring on the back with the white feather edges visible on the wing and at the back of the head indicates that this is a young Common. Young African will be darker to black on the back and Barred Long-Tailed has a very long tail(very obvious in length) and are more broadly barred on the belly, with a brown-olive back not so rufous.

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Re: Long tailed cuckoo ?

Unread post by gavinp » Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:07 pm

Lizet Grobbelaar wrote:
gavinp wrote: confirmation that he is a long tailed Cuckoo ?
Image


gavinp,

No it's not a Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, but rather a young Common cuckoo. Reasons being the rufous barring on the back with the white feather edges visible on the wing and at the back of the head indicates that this is a young Common. Young African will be darker to black on the back and Barred Long-Tailed has a very long tail(very obvious in length) and are more broadly barred on the belly, with a brown-olive back not so rufous.


Oh bugger and here i thought i saw a really good one :(

Jumbo

Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Jumbo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:42 am

Common Cuckoo? :?
Seen on 17/01/2010…S50 at Shingwedzi.
It made no sound…I was not able to get good photos of the tail.

Image

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Barcud
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Barcud » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:55 am

Hi Jumbo,

I would go for African Cuckoo based on the worn appearance of the feathers. This bird looks as if it's starting to moult? Common Cuckoo moult later in the year whereas African Cuckoo moult in March/April. The yellow on the bill is variable in the two, so this one is probably borderline.

I'd like to see others opinions though, so better wait and see what they say.

Barcud
Last edited by Barcud on Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jumbo

Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Jumbo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:33 am

Thank you, Barcud. 8)
I thought maybe it will help if I give you the original photo to look at…but please be warned, it is a large download ….4.85Mb :?
Original photo 4.85MB
With this you will see that the quality is really bad…one of the reasons was that it was drizzling that morning…so the bird was possibly a bit wet.
On this photo, you can see the tail very vaguely …don’t know if at all relevant, but on some of the other photos, it looks like the tail has quite a distinctive white tip.

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DotDan
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by DotDan » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:37 am

Mmmm, good point Barcud, but I think I will go for Common Cuckoo here.

For me the stand out feature is the bill which is almost completely black where in most African Cuckoo photo's and illustrations the bill is only black half way?

I don't know if this is true or not, but doesn't the African Cuckoo have a yellow eye ring where the Common has a more orange? :hmz:

Anyway, I would love to hear more from other birders

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Barcud
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Barcud » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:53 pm

Hi Jumbo & Dotdan,

The bird being wet changes things a bit! The timing of moult in these two species is a very good pointer to ID, and one to bear in mind for future reference. As this bird is just wet, and not in wear/moult, I'll revise my ID and agree with you both :redface:

I downloaded your larger pic Jumbo and lightened it. I tried to get further confirmation by looking at the tail, but cannot see anything that helps there.

Barcud

P.s. Sorry Jumbo, just noticed I'd got your name wrong!

Jumbo

Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Jumbo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:24 pm

Thanks you DotDan and Barcud …@ Barcud, not to worry about the name :lol:
Great tip about the time of moulting!!! 8)
My apologies, I should have actually mentioned the rainy conditions in my first post.

In my attempt to ID this bird, I looked at hordes of photos of the two different species. What I’ve noticed is that there was not one photo of an African Cuckoo where the nostrils were not in the yellow….and again the opposite for the Common Cuckoo. With the African cuckoos it appears that the entire base of the upper mandible is yellow….and predominantly black on the Common Cuckoo. What bothers me, is that this “feature” is not mention in any of there resources I have…mostly the description is that the Common Cuckoo has less yellow (or that it is yellowish green).
Any input on this…especially referring to the nostrils?

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Elsa
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:08 pm

Can anyone please tell me which Cuckoo this is, African or Common/European?
Seen in Kruger in Feb this year.
I am thinking its a youngish bird by the barring on the chest and throat area?
Thanks.

ImageLarge

Unfortunately there is a branch that goes across the face which might not help at all. :roll:

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Barcud
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Barcud » Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:58 pm

Elsa,

I'd go for European - moulting from brown imm to adult plumage. I believe African Juv/imm are grey, but I've no experience of them and only going from my Sasol Guide.

Anyone else agree or can correct me on these please?

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Batmad
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Batmad » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:40 pm

Elsa wrote:Can anyone please tell me which Cuckoo this is, African or Common/European?
Seen in Kruger in Feb this year.
I am thinking its a youngish bird by the barring on the chest and throat area?
Thanks.

ImageLarge

Unfortunately there is a branch that goes across the face which might not help at all. :roll:


European 8)
Avid birder, wildlife enthusiast and photographer with a special interest in Bats and Birds

2014 Birding Big Year- A 365 Day quest for 800 Species of Southern African Birds

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deefstes
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by deefstes » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:23 pm

Batmad wrote:
Elsa wrote:Can anyone please tell me which Cuckoo this is, African or Common/European?
Seen in Kruger in Feb this year.
I am thinking its a youngish bird by the barring on the chest and throat area?
Thanks.

ImageLarge

Unfortunately there is a branch that goes across the face which might not help at all. :roll:


European 8)

Just want to chime in quickly here. I'd say the bird in question is not a Common (European) Cuckoo but a female Red-chested Cuckoo. Notice the faint rufous wash to the breast and neck, the very dark (almost black) upper parts and the clearly unbarred undertail coverts.
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson

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Barcud
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Barcud » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:59 pm

Hi Deefstes,

I'd ruled out Red-chested Cuckoo because of the eye colour. I thought R-chested had a large dark eye with thin yellow ring whilst the bird in the photo has an additional yellow ring with small, dark eye. Is this feature not reliable for ID? (Just wondering so I can make a note in my field guide).


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