In detail

The cuckoo - Wanted poster


Surname: Cuckoo
Other names: Gauch
Latin name: Cuculus canorus
class: Birds
size: about 30cm
mass: about 120g
Older: 6 - 10 years
Appearance: light gray to dark gray
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Insectivore (insectivore)
food: Insects
distribution: Europe, Asia
original origin: Eurasia
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: unspecific
natural enemies: Birds of prey, cat, marten, fox
sexual maturity: from the second year of life
mating season: March - June
oviposition: 10 - 20 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the cuckoo

  • The cuckoo is a migratory bird that spends the warm months of spring and summer in Europe. Despite its characteristic sound, the cuckoo is not counted among the songbirds, but describes its own family of cuckoos or Cuculidae.
  • Its appearance is reminiscent of a Turkish pigeon, has a long tail and is colored gray or russet brown. Characteristic is its sitting position with drooping wings.
  • From May to about the end of August, the cuckoo is found in Europe in almost all countries and lives in the lowlands as well as in high mountain areas at an altitude of up to 2500 meters. He prefers easily manageable landscapes and therefore hardly stays in urban areas.
  • The cuckoo is a loner and feeds mainly on hairy butterfly caterpillars that are shunned by other birds. Also various insects such as beetles, earwigs or grasshoppers as well as spiders serve him as food sources, which he spies in the sitting position and then directly approaches.
  • The cuckoo is known primarily as a breeding parasite. After the mating, which lasts no more than one day, the female lays the eggs in foreign nests of small songbirds. The cuckoo is not very choosy, as research has shown that far more than a hundred different songbird species are among its host birds. These do not recognize the foreign egg and incubate it for about two weeks.
  • If the boy hatched, it has a decisive advantage over the small songbird offspring by its size. In order to be well cared for by the foreign parents, it gradually throws all eggs and food contractors out of the narrow nest by hunching movements.
  • Due to this type of brood care, the population of the cuckoo always depends heavily on its host birds.
  • Every cuckoo female lays up to 25 eggs in songbird nests per breeding season within a few months. Although the kittens are raised by foreign parents, they instinctively know where to fly in the fall.
  • As a very perennial bird, the cuckoo flies across the Mediterranean without interruption and reaches its winter quarters in West Africa or in countries south of the equator after a distance of 3000 kilometers.