In April I open my bill
In May I sing night and day
In June I change my tune
In July far, far, I fly
In August away I must
Description:The adult birds usually have blue-grey head, breast and upperparts, and horizontal barring on the underparts and white spots and tips on the tail.
Voice:The female has a rich bubbling chuckle, but the male’s call is the very familiar “cuckoo”. Generally, if you hear a Cuckoo singing you will probably not see it until it stops singing, and flies away.
Feeding: Caterpillars and other insects such as beetles and ants form the major part of the Cuckoo’s diet. Many of the caterpillars are the hairy or brightly coloured poisonous ones, but their digestive system is specially adapted to cope with the hairs and toxins. The female will also sometimes eat the eggs and nestlings of the host bird.
Nesting: The Cuckoo is a brood parasite, it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests and leaves the host birds to incubate and rear its young. Dunnocks, Robins and Meadow Pips are frequent host birds. Each female Cuckoo specialises in using a particular host species and will lay eggs with similar markings to the host bird’s eggs, and the young Cuckoo will imitate the begging calls of the host’s chicks.
When the Cuckoo nestling hatches, it instinctively pushes the other eggs and nestlings out of the nest.
Movements: They are a summer migrant, arriving around April and returning to central and southern Africa from mid-July to August. The juveniles follow in August and September.