I heard the very distinct sound of the cuckoo this morning, but how many of our readers have heard it?
A migrating bird, they generally arrive here in mid-April until August and spend the rest of their time in central and southern Africa, with a population of approximately 3,000 pairs in Ireland.
Adult male Cuckoos are a uniform grey on the head, neck, back, wings, and tail. The underparts are white with black, with two yellow feet. Rarely seen, they can be mistaken in flight for a bird of prey such as Sparrowhawk. Their diet is mainly caterpillars, insects, worms, berries, grain, etc.
An unusual bird, they don’t build a nest, don’t have anything to do with rearing their families, the females lay their eggs in the nests of others species, and only one in each nest. The eggs are usually the same colour and patterns as those of the host birds. She lays 10-20 per season.
With no chicks to look after the parents leave Ireland by August at their leisure to head to Africa, followed by the chicks a month later.