Female Cuckoo

Cuckoo

Scientific name: Cuculus canorus

Did you know: The Cuckoo is renowned for its unique breeding strategy, where it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, tricking them into raising its young!

What Do Cuckoos Look Like? (how to identify them)

Cuckoos are medium-sized birds resembling doves, with a distinct blue-grey back, head, and chest. Their bellies display a striking black and white pattern. 

Their sleek bodies, long tails, and pointed wings often lead to them being mistaken for birds of prey like Kestrels or Sparrowhawks.

Differences Between Male And Female Cuckoos

Male Cuckoos typically sport a vibrant blue-grey plumage, while females may show a variation in colour, often exhibiting more muted tones with touches of brown or grey.

What Do Cuckoos Eat?

Cuckoos have a diet primarily consisting of insects, particularly favouring hairy caterpillars. They also feed on a variety of other invertebrates, playing a crucial role in controlling pest populations.

Where Do Cuckoos Live? (inc. migration info)

Cuckoos are summer visitors in the UK, arriving from Africa in late spring. They inhabit various habitats, from woodlands and farmlands to heathlands and wetlands. 

Notably, adult Cuckoos leave the UK for Africa in early summer, while their young, raised by host birds, follow later once they’re fully fledged.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Cuckoos)

The call of the Cuckoo is one of the most recognised bird sounds in the UK. The distinctive “cuck-oo” call, primarily made by males, is a herald of spring and a familiar sound in British woodlands and countryside.

Fun Cuckoo Facts (kid friendly)

  • Cuckoos are known as brood parasites – they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests!
  • A baby Cuckoo grows bigger than its host siblings and often pushes them out of the nest.
  • Adult Cuckoos can migrate to Africa as early as June.
  • The diet of Cuckoos mainly includes hairy caterpillars, which many other birds avoid.
  • Cuckoo chicks can mimic the call of their host’s chicks, tricking the host into feeding them more.
  • Young Cuckoos navigate their way to Africa all by themselves without their parents.

Cuckoo Images

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Male
Female Cuckoo Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Cuckoo

Diet: Insects, especially hairy caterpillars.
Bird Family: Cuckoos
Length: 32-34cm
Wingspan: 55-65cm
Weight: 105-130g
Scientific Name: Cuculus canorus

The Cuckoo Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September