Cuculus micropterus

Written by on April 14, 2012 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Cuculus micropterus, Indian Cuckoo,  Kangkok India


The Indian CuCuculus-micropterus-01-400ckoo, Cuculus micropterus, is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, the Cuculiformes, that is found in Asia from Pakistan and India, Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and north to China and Russia. It is a solitary and shy bird, found in forests and open woodland at up to 3,600 m.
This is a medium sized cuckoo with both sexes alike. It has grey upperparts while the underside has broad black barring. The tail is barred with a broad subterminal dark band and a white tip. Young birds have white markings on the crown and white chin and throat contrasting with a dark face.Juveniles are browner and have broad white tips to the head and wing feathers. The eye-ring is gray to yellow (a feature shared with the Common Hawk-cuckoo). The iris is light brown to reddish. The female differs from the male in being slightly paler grey on the throat and in having more brown on the breast and tail. The barring on the belly is narrower than in the male. Nestlings have a orange-red mouth and yellow flanges to the gape.

The call is loud with four notes. They have been transcribed as “orange-pekoe”, “bo-ko-ta-ko”, “crossword puzzle” or “one more bottle”. Very little variation is noted between regions although the song in China is said to rise at the end. In the Kangra Valley of India, the call is interpreted as the soul of the dead shepherd uttering “where is my sheep”. In China, one of the names means “cuckoo with four syllables”.

They are locally common in the breeding season with as many as a calling bird for every 2 square km in northern India.

They feed on hairy caterpillars and other insects but sometimes take fruits.[3] They usually feed on the upper canopy, gleaning insects, sometimes making aerial sallies for flying termites or rarely even by hovering lower near the ground.

Taxonomy and systematics

Two subspecies are generally recognized. The nominate form is found in much of continental Asia, while concretus S. Müller, 1845 which is smaller and darker is known from the Malay Peninsula, Java, Sumatra and Borneo. The birds in the Amur region are larger and Swinhoe described a form from northern China as Cuculus michieanus while Walter Norman Koelz described a form fatidicus from northeastern India.[3]
[edit] Distribution and habitat

The species is found widely distributed across Asia. The preferred habitat is deciduous and evergreen forests but also occur in garden lands and thick scrub.

Some populations appear to migrate south in winter, although there are breeding populations in the southern areas as well, with specimens netted at night or recorded at lighthouses.

Behaviour and ecology

The Indian Cuckoo is a brood parasite. It lays its single egg mostly in the nests of drongos and crows. It removes and eats an egg from the host nest before laying its own. The breeding season varies from May to July in northern China, March to August in India, January to June in Burma and January to August in the Malay Peninsula.

The host species include Lanius cristatus in the Amur region, Black Drongo and Pica cyanea in China. In India, they have been found to be fed by Black Drongos and Ashy Drongo. Other hosts that have been recorded include Black-headed Oriole, Streaked Spiderhunter, Eurylaimus ochromalus and Dicrurus paradiseus.
The eggs of the cuckoo hatch in 12 days while those of the Brown Shrike in the Amur region take 14 days. During the third of fourth day, the young bird bends its back when touched and heaves out other eggs or nestlings. This instinct is lost soon after.

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