Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

The first thing most of us remember when we thing about the cuckoo, is its ingenious way of dodging the perils and labours of incubation by depositing their eggs in the  nest of some other bird and allowing them to rear its young. Those exactly where my thoughts when I saw this Fan-tailed Cuckoo ( Cacomantis flabelliformis ) in Australia, which incidentally was also my first cuckoo sighting down under. To avoid having their eggs thrown out by the foster parents cuckoos have developed a colouration to their eggs that matches with those species they parasitise, so each race of cuckoo restricts itself to only certain species. This Fan-tailed chooses flycatchers, fairy-wrens, scrubwrens and thornbills, the Brown Thornbill being a particular favourite.  A single egg is laid in the nest and one of the host's eggs removed. The young cuckoo generally hatches earlier than the host's eggs and proceeds to eject the other eggs or hatchlings. The seemingly unaware foster parents then rear the cuckoo chick.
It was an amazing feeling to see a cuckoo here and it reminded me so much of the Indian cuckoo. 

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