Great Spotted Cuckoo

Clamator glandarius

The Great Spotted Cuckoo is another summer visitor to South Africa, with birds arriving here from the Mediterranean and equatorial Africa in September and staying until April or May. While here they have a rather patchy distribution, with concentrations in the Lowveld and northern Gauteng.

Great Spotted Cuckoos live in grasslands, savannas and open woodlands. They feed mainly on a wide range of invertebrates, especially caterpillars.

Like others of their kind, Great Spotted Cuckoos are brood parasites, with this species targeting crows and starlings for the raising of their chicks. Females lay between 1 and 4 eggs, usually 2, in the host nest, and as many as 23 eggs in a season. The chicks don’t usually kill their adoptive siblings but will peck at them. The chicks leave the nest between 3 and 4 weeks after hatching. They grow to 39cm in length and weigh about 130g.

With a population estimated at at least 3-million, the IUCN considers the Great Spotted Cuckoo to be of least concern.

23 thoughts on “Great Spotted Cuckoo

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Ek het ook gewonder oor daardie eerste foto waar die koekoek ‘n wurm in sy mond het … op die klein fototjie het dit soos ‘n voel met ‘n baie lang en skewe snawel gelyk! Maar van naderby, kon ek eintlik sien hoe ‘n goeie foto dit is!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sustainabilitea

    I had to laugh at the photo with the cuckoo holding the worm because it first appeared that the bird had a very unusually curved beak! 🙂 I was relieved to find out it was actually a worm. 🙂

    Love, love, love the new logo/gravatar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      You are very kind, Janet! I also loved the design the moment I saw the first draft. It is just so “us”.

      I suppose it is the same in North America, that hairy caterpillars give a nasty sting? It baffles me that this bird is able to swallow it!



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