Woodland Trust

Nature's CalendarNature Detectives

Be on the look out for blackberries which will be ripening soon.

Cuckoo. Chris Romeiks Wikimedia Commonscuckoo

Cuculus canorus


Facts

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