BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO

This species is often seen in the wooded birding areas in Essex County during spring migration.  Black-billed Cuckoos can be elusive and unlike other songbirds, are not in constant motion.  Cuckoos are known for sitting very still in the trees. The subtle black and white striping in the tail is often how birders pick out this species in the foliage. Any of the forested locations with black walnut and willows are great places to look for this species during the breeding season. These species of trees often attract caterpillars, a favourite food of cuckoos.  At Point Pelee National Park, check the willow trees edging the marsh near the observation tower and along the north section of DeLaurier Trail.  Listen for their distinct “coo, coo” call – they can be elusive and are often best found using song. Common but secretive, the Black-billed Cuckoo is heard far more often than seen. During the breeding season, this forest dwelling caterpillar-eater often calls throughout the night.

 

Adult Description
Slender, long-tailed bird colored in soft browns and grays.
Bill all black.

Immature Description
Resemble adults, but more brownish with less distinct tail pattern. Primaries with cinnamon tinges. Orbital ring yellowish.

*Image and description were sourced from allaboutbirds.org


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