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Cuckoo. Chris Romeiks Wikimedia Commonscuckoo

Cuculus canorus


Why not download our cuckoo fact sheet?

cuckoo fact sheet

  • More often heard than seen

  • Quite hawk-like in flight, except for its graduated tail

  • It has grey upper parts and barring below

  • Some females are rusty brown

  • Its wings are pointed and often drooped when perching

  • A distinctive call - click on the recording below to listen:

Where found

Marshes, woods, hedges, moors and farmland.  

When to look for

Fabulous cuckoo facts

  • The familiar 'cuckoo' call is made by the male bird - the female cuckoo's song is a quiet gurgle

  • Famous for its parasitic nesting behaviour, laying its eggs in other birds nests

  • A female cuckoo lays only one egg in each nest, and an individual cuckoo will almost always keep to one kind of nest - such as that of the meadow pipit

  • The cuckoo's egg is usually larger than that of the host bird, but it has a similar pattern and is accepted by the host bird as one of its own

  • When the egg hatches, the young cuckoo pushes the other eggs or chicks out of the nest, and the foster parents continue to feed it until it is fully grown

  • The young cuckoo may grow to two or three times the size of the foster parents that feed it