Metroplus

A pied cuckoo flew over the rest

RAIN BIRD The loud metallic cry is connected with the onsetof monsoon Photo: Swaroop Bharadwaj

RAIN BIRD The loud metallic cry is connected with the onsetof monsoon Photo: Swaroop Bharadwaj  

The striking black and white bird is the harbinger of monsoon

Excitement runs high among avid birders in the city. Sighting of the pied cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus pica) which is a migrant from Africa has been made in the nearby water bodies around the city. According to the Migrant Watch site, the pied cuckoo makes a sudden appearance in many areas of central and northern India. We also have resident numbers in the South of the country. The unmistakably loud metallic calls, can be connected to the imminent arrival of the monsoon. And like its name signifies - the pied cuckoo, is a striking black and white bird.

Swaroop Bharadwaj a birder says, “Hoskote Lake and its surroundings is an excellent habitat for resident and migratory birds. The 2,300 plus acres offers a huge opportunity to enjoy bird watching especially during between October to March where rare and regular winter visitors arrive.”

This is where he spotted the Harbinger of monsoon or the rain bird. “In Kannada it is called the Jaataka pakshi,” he says. “It has been associated with the chatak bird, which in Hindu mythology and poetry waits for rains to quench its thirst.”

According to the Migrant Watch Site, the pied cuckoo is one of the few migratory birds that come to the Indian subcontinent from Africa to breed. They move across the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to reach India in May or June. Records have been made from Oman, Saudi Arabia and the Seychelles during the migratory season. Some believe that the bird uses monsoon winds to assist its flight during this migration. It breeds in India during June and August and leaves the subcontinent in September/October.

Chris Bowden, an International Species Recovery Officer & SAVE Programme Manager with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and who lives in Kodigehalli says, “The pied cuckoo brings back memories of when I lived and worked on a mountain forest conservation project for BirdLife International in South West Cameroon, and they used to arrive and go, before we really knew that they were crossing all the way to India...   I was so excited when I learnt that was their journey between sightings...”

The pied cuckoo is around 12 inches in length. Adults have a prominent crest and an elongated tail. An insectivore, the bird feeds on various insects and caterpillars.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 6:30:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/a-pied-cuckoo-flew-over-the-rest/article6376390.ece

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