Cacomantis pallidus

CUCULIDAE

Pallid Cuckoo

Description
The Pallid Cuckoo is identified by its grey plumage, which is darker on the wings and back, and its broadly barred black and white undertail. The bill is brown, the legs and feet are grey-brown, and there is a bright yellow ring around the eye. No other Australian cuckoo has this colouration. It is a large, slender cuckoo and is somewhat hawk-like in appearance during flight. Young Pallid Cuckoos are mottled with brown and buff above, with a white spot on the nape, and are streaked with grey-brown and white below. As with other species of cuckoo, its call often betrays its presence long before it is seen.
Feeding
The Pallid Cuckoo has a liking for hairy caterpillars, but will take other insects and their larvae. Prey is spotted from low perch and is pounced on, usually on the ground. Some insects are taken from foliage.
Breeding
The Pallid Cuckoo lays its eggs in the nests of honeyeaters, woodswallows, whistlers and flycatchers. Common host species include the Willie Wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys and the Hooded Robin, Melanodryas cuculatta. The female cuckoo removes one of the host's eggs and replaces it with one of her own. The cuckoo egg usually closely resembles the host egg, and the unsuspecting host hatches it along with its own. The cuckoo egg usually hatches more quickly and the young cuckoo instinctively forces the other eggs (or chicks) out of the nest. The cuckoo rapidly outgrows its 'foster' parents, who frantically search for sufficient food to satisfy the demanding young bird.
Call
A loud, ascending whistle 'too-too-too..', The call is often repeated incessantly, and gave rise to the name of Brainfever-bird.  Click here and scroll down, select the music note to hear the Pallid Cuckoo call.
Resources
http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Cacomantis-pallidus
http://photogallery.canberrabirds.org.au/cuckoos.htm

More information can be found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pallid_Cuckoo

 


[go back]

superior