Bird Families

Burchelli Spur Cuckoo / Centropus burchellii

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SPRING CUCKOO (Centropus sinensis)

or the Indian kukal got its name from the long claw on the back toe. It is a large cuckoo, the size of a crow: its body length reaches 50 cm. A large, wide, rounded tail is about half of its entire length, its wings are short.

The predominant color of this bird is brilliant black with a brown back and brown wings, a blue tint on the head and green on the underside of the body. The eyes are dark red, the strong legs are black. The beak is dark, curved at the end. Chicks are covered with brown and yellowish transverse stripes from above.

This cuckoo is widespread in India and Ceylon. It makes a nest on tree branches, always among dense and thorny thickets, usually between thorn bushes, not high from the ground. Outwardly, it is a coarse spherical structure equipped with a roof, small (in comparison with the bird itself) in size (the diameter of the building is 45 cm). The building has a side entrance, from which, when a bird incubates a clutch or warms up chicks, a tail that does not fit into the nest sticks out. Clutch usually consists of 3-5 off-white eggs. During the breeding season (which lasts from June to September), where these birds are found, you can hear their peculiar, howl-like cry. Clawed cuckoos keep in pairs, only young birds in the first year of life wander alone.

The movements of this bird are heavy, in size, habits and appearance, it is very similar to a poultry.

The Spur cuckoo avoids the forest, but can easily be found in dense scrub thickets with lush grassy vegetation. Both young and adult birds spend most of their time near the ground, skillfully climbing through the densest and often prickly plexuses of plant branches. Only occasionally can you see a bird flying from place to place. Usually clawed cuckoos prefer to walk on the ground or climb the branches of trees and bushes. These quiet, calm, little conspicuous birds always keep very hidden, although they are extremely dexterous in running, jumping and climbing.

The Indian kukal feeds on large insects (wasps, beetles, caterpillars, orthoptera), small lizards and snakes, small rodents and, apparently, eggs and chicks of other birds.

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