Common Cuckoo: Large cuckoo, gray upperparts, paler underparts with dark bars on belly. Dark gray wings; tail is dark gray with spotting on outer edges near base. Feeds on caterpillars, insects and larvae. Wings are held low in flight, depressed far below body at bottom of downstroke.
Range and Habitat
Common Cuckoo: Native of Eurasia; casual visitor to the Pribilofs and Aleutians; accidental in Massachusetts.
In some areas it is considered like the groundhog, and hearing it's song signifies the start of Spring. However if it sings too early it forewarns of frost and poor harvests.
The Cuckoo lays its eggs in other bird's nests and so is sometimes regarded as evil. It's a symbol of unfaithfulness, in Japan a symbol of unrequited love.
There are positive associations as well, linking the Cockoo to fertility and rain.
A group of cuckoos are collectively known as a "cooch" and an "asylum" of cuckoos.
The Common Cuckoo is a close relative to the roadrunner and coeval, and lives throughout Europe and Asia. This species is migratory, and flies to Africa during winter months. They prefer areas of open land, and eat a diet of insects and hairy caterpillars. This species is also a brood parasite. This means that hens will seek out nests of other species, push an egg out of the nest, they lay one of their own to leave for the host parent to care for. Common species that the common Cuckoo targets for this practice include Dunnucks, Meadow Pipits, and Eurasian Reed Warblers. The conservation rating for the Common Cuckoo is Least Concern.