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Re: [MBB] Common Cuckoo (age and sex inquiry)

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  • Joseph Morlan
    Matthew, Very good point, Yes, the bird is definitely a juvenile and, unlike adults, there is little correlation between color morph and sex in that plumage.
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30, 2012

      Very good point, Yes, the bird is definitely a juvenile and, unlike
      adults, there is little correlation between color morph and sex in that
      plumage. Exceptionally bright juveniles with almost unbarred rump such as
      our bird are more likely to be females, but it is not guaranteed.

      Another point is that there is little difference between Common and
      Oriental Cuckoos in juvenal plumage, although perhaps birds with unbarred
      bright rufous rumps are unlikely to be Oriental.

      Incidentally, our bird does have barring on the lower back, rump and
      uppertail coverts, but it is formed by just black and white tips to the
      feathers and is a consequence of juvenal plumage. See bottom photo at:


      This is not the solid black barring across the entire feather expected in
      adult Oriental (or Himalayan) Cuckoo.

      On Sun, 30 Sep 2012 21:33:27 -0700, Matthew Dodder <mdodder@...>

      >Don's message makes me wonder...
      >Do we know for certain the Common Cuckoo is actually female? It's not
      >a familiar species to me, so forgive me if this is a naive question.
      >The various field guides I have referred to all seem to show the
      >rufous coloration on females, As well, they illustrate juveniles with
      >a pale nape patch...
      >This Watsonville bird clearly showed the a pale nape patch this morning.
      >Does this combination suggest a YOUNG female... Any thoughts?
      >Matthew Dodder
      >On Sep 30, 2012, at 7:26 PM, Glasco, Don wrote:
      >> >watched it consume another black & yellow caterpillar
      >> While I was googling Common Cuckoo yesterday I read that its
      >> ‘favorite’ food is hairy caterpillars. Sharon’s report is the third
      >> noting that the Watsonville cuckoo was eating a caterpillar. Don
      >> Roberson even posted a photo on it doing so.
      >> As long as there is a supply caterpillars, it may hang a around for
      >> a while. And we did have an irruption of oak worms (caterpillars)
      >> on central coast this year. Where else would she go?
      >> BTW, this pan-Eurasian bird (UK to Kamchatcha and even Japan).
      >> Western populations winter in equatorial Africa, as far south as
      >> South Africa. Eastern populations go to Phipplines, SE Asia, Ceylon
      >> and S. India. Assuming she is Eastern population she obviously
      >> made a wrong turn.
      >> The Common Cuckoo, while its population is declining, is still a
      >> species of ‘Least Concern’.
      >> “In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number
      >> 4,200,000-8,600,000 breeding pairs, equating to
      >> 12,600,000-25,800,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004).
      >> Europe forms 25-49% of the global range, so a very preliminary
      >> estimate of the global population size is 25,000,000-100,000,000
      >> individuals”
      >> http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=1205
      >> Seems only fair Watsonville should host one of those millions J
      >> Has anyone alerted Watsonville or local papers? How many visiting
      >> birders have bought a meal , a tank of gas or a motel room locally?
      >> Good example of how preserving birds and habitats can have an
      >> economic payback.
      >> My few bird droppings,
      >> Don Glasco
      >> Seaside, CA
      >> (and proud member of SCBC)
      >> don.glasco@... 831.277.5042
      >> From: mbb-bounces@... [mailto:mbb-bounces@...] On
      >> Behalf Of Sharon Hull
      >> Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2012 6:47 PM
      >> To: mbb@...
      >> Subject: [MBB] Common Cuckoo
      >> The bird was still being seen intermittently at 6pm, west of Ramsay
      >> Park in the big willows that border the slough behind the houses.
      >> At 5:45, about 30 birders watched it consume another black & yellow
      >> caterpillar, then dive back into cover. When I left at 6:15, it
      >> had just flown across open water and hidden itself in a mostly
      >> leafless clump of willows that are growing in the water where the
      >> path curves around to give access to the other side. About 20
      >> birders were still scanning, hoping it would pop out again.
      >> A BARN OWL was deep in the big willows and just barely visible with
      >> bins. And someone spotted a HERMIT WARBLER at one point; a few
      >> minutes later, Todd Easterla heard it call. The Cuckoo Party
      >> atmosphere was still evident but had calmed down somewhat from the
      >> gleeful vibe that prevailed on Friday and Saturday.
      >> Sharon Hull
      >> Aptos
      >> _______________________________________________
      >> mbb mailing list
      >> mbb@...
      >> http://lists.pbsci.ucsc.edu/mailman/listinfo/mbb
      >. . .
      >Matthew Dodder
      >Mountain View, CA
      Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA
      "It turns out we're very good at not seeing things" - Jack Hitt
    • LGREUK400@aol.com
      A fantastic record ! The photographs seem to suggest that this is a juvenile COMMON CUCKOO (canorus), sexing of which is not possible in the field Separation
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 1, 2012
        A fantastic record !

        The photographs seem to suggest that this is a juvenile COMMON CUCKOO
        (canorus), sexing of which is not possible in the field

        Separation from juvenile Oriental is very, very difficult, especially
        considering individual variation between both species, but in general -:

        1) Juvenile Oriental is larger headed and markedly shorter-tailed than
        Common (very subjective with a single vagrant);

        2) Juvenile Oriental has a much less defined tail pattern with more
        prominent V-shaped barred feathers on a much paler basal background;

        3) Juvenile Oriental has much darker and broader breast markings;

        4) Juvenile Oriental has a propensity to have BROAD BARRING on the vent and
        undertail-coverts, juvenile Common generally often poorly patterned in
        this region

        Best wishes

        Lee Evans

        )Lee G R Evans
        British Birding Association
        UK400 Club, Rare Birds Magazine, Ornithological Consultant and

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