This week at Friday Environment Forum: Kon Hepers is the guest speaker at Friday Environment Forum on November 6 when he will compare the taxonomy and lifestyle of a selection of these birds, particularly the Australian species.
Arguably the most recognised bird call in the world is that of the Common or European Cuckoo.
The “cuckoo” sound of the call has given the name to the bird (onomatopoeic), which in turn has its name associated with other unrelated birds, insects and even a type of clock - also humans.
In common usage the word has become synonymous with “silly and crazy”. But is that a fair description of the bird?
Cuckoos are equally well known as brood parasites: they lay their egg into the nests of other birds which brood and rear the young cuckoo, without any involvement from the actual parent birds. This is a very successful breeding strategy and certainly not silly. About 1 percent of the world’s bird species are obligate brood parasites and almost all are in the cuckoo family.
This parasitism has evolved separately at least three times among birds. But less than half of the Cuckoo family are full-time cheats. The rest care for their own young. Of the thirteen Australian species of cuckoo twelve are brood parasites and only one builds its own nest and rears its own chicks. Almost all are migratory.
Be part of the audience on November 6 at the Noosa Parks Association Environment Centre, 5 Wallace Drive Noosaville to hear Kon answer the question: What makes a cuckoo cuckoo? Forum commences at 10.30am although everyone is welcome to arrive at 10am when coffee and chat are on offer. For those interested in an interpretive birding walk before the forum, meet Valda in the Environment Centre car park at 8.30am.