Scientific name: Cuculus canorus
Size: Approx 30cm
Distribution: Can be found throughout the UK, although in recent years numbers have been declining
Months seen: April to September. Cuckoos spend the winter months in Africa
Habitat: Parks, gardens and woodland
Special features: The cuckoo is more frequently heard than seen. Its call in April is a familiar springtime sound.
The cuckoo is well known for it's parasitic nesting behavior. The female selects a suitable nest, usually made by a smaller bird. She removes one egg from the nest and lays one of her own in its place.
When the cuckoo chick hatches out, it pushes out the remaining eggs or chicks from the nest, ensuring full attention from its foster parents.
The foster parents feed the cuckoo chick as if it were their own, even after the chick has grown much larger than the parent bird.
Adult cuckoos migrate to Africa in July or August, and their offspring usually follow in September.
Listen to the call of a cuckoo - MP3 - 89 KB