Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)


  • Species name: Common Cuckoo, European Cuckoo
  • Scientific name: Cuculus canorus
  • Family: Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
  • Order: Cuculiformes (Cuckoos, Turacos)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Medium-sized bird, about 32-34 cm (12.6-13.4 in) long with a wingspan of 54-60 cm (21.3-23.6 in).
  • Body shape: Slim and streamlined, with long, pointed wings, a long tail, and a long, curved beak.
  • Plumage color:

Males: Gray upperparts with pale bars, white underparts, black and white barring on wing and tail, and yellow eyes.

Females: Variable, some resemble males, others are rufous brown with barring.

  • Beak: Long, strong, and slightly curved, black in color, perfect for catching insects and caterpillars.
  • Legs: Short and yellow.
  • Tail: Long and narrow, often tipped with white.


  • Method of feeding: Primarily insectivorous, catching caterpillars and other insects in flight.
  • Reproduction: Brood parasite, laying eggs in the nests of other bird species. The young cuckoo then evicts the host chicks and is raised by the foster parents.
  • Movement: Long-distance migrant, breeding in Europe and Asia and wintering in Africa.
  • Communication: Loud, characteristic "cuckoo" call used by males to attract mates and defend territory. Females have quieter calls.


  • Habitat: Open woodlands, forests, farmland, and gardens with trees and bushes.
  • Diet: Primarily insects, especially caterpillars, but also other invertebrates like snails and worms.
  • Hunting methods: Catches insects in flight, often hovering or perching in wait for prey.

Distribution: Found across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Breeds in temperate regions and migrates south for winter.

Common Cuckoo

The Common Cuckoo — a feathered enigma wrapped in a cloak of brood parasitism. This bird doesn't build its own nest, raise its own young, or even gather its own food for fledglings. Instead, it relies on a daring, and sometimes ruthless, strategy to ensure its offspring thrive. Get ready to delve into the cuckoo's curious world:

Master of Mimicry: The Cuckoo's first weapon is deception. It expertly mimics the calls of other birds, often smaller warblers and finches. This lures unsuspecting hosts to believe a familiar neighbor is nearby, creating an opportunity for the real trickery to begin.

Egg Drop Surprise: With the host preoccupied, the Cuckoo lays its own egg directly into the unsuspecting nest. Its egg often resembles the host's eggs in size and color, further blurring the lines of maternity. It's like a feathered pickpocket with built-in paintbrushes!

Sneaky Chick, Bigger Kicks: The Cuckoo chick hatches first, driven by a primal instinct. It pushes out or even throws other eggs or hatchlings out of the nest, ensuring it receives all the food and care from the adoptive parents. Talk about a feathered eviction specialist!

Not All Hosts Fall for It: But the Cuckoo's scheme isn't foolproof. Some host species, like the Great Reed Warbler, have evolved clever countermeasures. They can recognize and reject Cuckoo eggs based on size, color, or even smell, leaving the parasite scrambling for another victim.

Unexpected Family Support: Despite their unconventional parenting, Cuckoo chicks benefit from the host's care. They grow rapidly, often outcompeting their nestmates for food and attention, ensuring their survival and eventual independence.

Global Travelers: Common Cuckoos are long-distance migrants, journeying between breeding grounds in Europe and Africa every year. Their remarkable navigation skills and adaptability allow them to thrive in diverse environments and exploit new host species across continents.

Cultural Symbolism: For centuries, the Cuckoo has held a complex place in human cultures. It symbolizes trickery, rebirth, and even motherhood, despite its unorthodox parenting methods. Its fascinating life cycle has inspired myths, folktales, and even artistic representations.

Conservation Concerns: Though widespread, Cuckoo populations face threats like habitat loss, pesticide use, and changing migration patterns. Conservation efforts are crucial to ensure this feathered trickster and its intricate adaptations continue to thrive in our natural world.