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Jacobin Cuckoo

Jacobin Cuckoo
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-03-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/5.2, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-09-23 23:30
Viewed: 3626
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Jacobin Cuckoo / Clamator jacobinus

Today I share number 63 in the series of birds of the Kruger National Park, the Jacobin Cuckoo. This image was taken during a short visit to the Kruger in March 2012, and I am fortunate to have been able to photograph it as it was the 1st time we saw this species in the Kruger National Park. Unfortunately it was quite a distance away from us so I had to crop the image considerably.

It is the 2nd time this species have been shared on Trek Nature, the 1st time being in 2006 by Paul Bright and at that time Loot placed it in his theme RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 2.

This medium sized, slim black and white cuckoo with a crest is distinctive. The white wing patch on the black wing and the pattern make it unmistakable even in flight. They are very vocal during the breeding season. The call is a ringing series of whistling notes "piu-piu" with the calls of the nominate form more rapid and slightly mellower.

In Africa, subspecies serratus and pica (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) show two phases, a pied phase with white or whitish below and a black phase where the only white is on the wing patch. Mating appears to be assortative, with pied phase males pairing with pied phase females. An all-rufous colour phase has been noted in Central Africa. There is lack of clarity on the migration and plumage variation involved. Subspecies pica has been said to be the form that migrates between Africa and India however Rasmussen & Anderton (2005) suggest serratus as being the valid name for the Afro-Indian migrants.

Distribution and habitat
The species is distributed south of the Sahara in Africa and south of the Himalayas in India. Also found in Sri Lanka and parts of Myanmar. Within Africa, there are movements of the species although they are resident in tropical Africa. The east African population is migratory and moves over southern Arabia into India during April. The habitat of the species is mainly in thorny, dry scrub or open woodland avoiding areas of dense forest or extremely dry environments.

Behaviour and ecology
In the breeding season, birds call from prominent perches and chase each other with slow wing-beats and pigeon like clapping flight. Courtship feeding has been observed in Africa. The species is a brood parasite and in India the host is mainly species of babblers in the genus Turdoides. The colour of the eggs matches those of the host, typically turquoise blue. The eggs are slightly larger than those of the Common Babbler T. caudatus or the Jungle Babbler T. striata. Other hosts include the Red-vented Bulbul, and the eggs laid are then mostly white.

Eggs are laid hurriedly in the morning into the nest of the host often dropped from while the bird perches on the rim of the nest and over the host eggs often resulting in the cracking of one or more host eggs. In Africa, the males distract the host while the female lays the egg. Multiple eggs may be laid in the nest of a host and two young cuckoos were found to fledge successfully in several occasions.

The skin of young birds darkens form pink to purplish brown within two days of hatching. The mouth linking is red with yellow gape flanges. Unlike some cuckoos, nestlings do not evict the eggs of the host from the nest although they claim most of the parental attention and food resulting sometimes, in the starvation of host nestlings.

These cuckoos feed on insects including hairy caterpillars that are picked up from near or on the ground. Caterpillars are pressed from end to end to remove the guts before they are swallowed. They sometimes feed on fruits.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Afrikaans - Bontnuwejaarsvoël
German - Jackobinerkuckuck
French - Coucou jacobin
Dutch - Jacobijnkoekoek
Portuguese - Cuco-jacobino
Hindi - Kala papaya Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

Hotelcalifornia, nagraj, maaciejka, KOMSIS, drchoneydew, Maynayquan, anel, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-09-24 0:50]

Well done Anna on this nice shot of this Jacobin Cuckoo! Well composed and photographed, thanks!Regards Siggi

Good morning Anna
Wonderful capture of this beautiful Cuckoo species.Great POV and composition.Wonderful colours and eye contact.Great sharpness also.Congrats!
Have a good day!
Kind regards

Hello Anna,
Few days ago Mr.Joydev showed this specie too.Nice bird.I haven't seen more than twice in my life.
Well captured.Nice deep colour with good sharpness and light.The way you have illuminate black eyes its really nice.Good work.
Thanks for sharing,
Regards and have a nice day,

Hallo Anna,
Wat 'n pragtige foto met baie goeie definisie en samestelling - tipies van jou hoë standaard. Ek wonder of hierdie koekoek ook so moeilik is om te sien as die Piet-my-vrou want dan sal dit 'n besondere prestasie wees. Geniet wat oor is van die vakansiedag.

Hello Anna,
Nice capture,great details and lovely natural colours,very good eye contact and taken from a best POV.TFS.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-09-24 6:47]

Beautiful cuckoo striking great pose for you, well made image of this lovely species. tfs.

Hi Anna

Nice picture of the Pied Cuckoo, a bird known in India as the harbinger of monsoons. A bird more easily heard than seen. Nice picture with good exposure and perfect perch.


Hi Anna,
beautiful bird. Interesting pose. Nice colours. Very good presentation.
Thanks for sharing,

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-09-24 8:23]

Hallo Anna,
Lovely capture of this Jacobin Cuckoo ..
Very good focus, sharpness, colors, details, POV and composition.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-09-24 9:00]

Hi Anna,it turn the head in the right moment only for you and your camera...ehehe..a very good capture of this rare guest of Tn in a beautiful composition and the usual perfect quality of details and exposure,i like it! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Cuao Anna great capture of lovely bird in nice posr beautiful ambientation wonderfil natural colors fine details and splendid sharpness brava ciao Silvio

Coucou Anna,
Great shot of this Jacobin Cuckoo in Kruger NP!
Remarkable sharpness after cropping++.

What eye contact too! You were so blessed to view this as it appears to be so rare! Love their spots of brown, white and black gray feathers and fuzzy white chest. TFS!

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-09-24 17:36]

Hello Anna,
A wonderful image of this beautifully marked Cuckoo. It's body shape and features are similar, but the plumage colors are quit different from the Cuckoos I have seen here in the States.
I like the way you captured it posed so nicely out in the open, as the ones I have tried to photograph here seem to hide among the leaves and rarely give you a clear shot.
I find it very interesting that they squeeze the guts out of the caterpillars before eating them. I wonder why they do this?

Hi Anna,
Awesome capture of this beautiful cuckoo! Very good POV, well composed and focused, beautiful natural coloration of plumage, and great details. Good work, and I really enjoyed this shot, Anna. TFS, have a nice day!

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-09-26 11:32]

Hi Anna,
very nice portrait of a beautiful Cuckoo.
Perfect composition and sharpness details in
nice natural colours.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-09-27 5:12]

Hello Anna,
Nice to see a Cuckoo from your part of the world, one with its striking "Jacobin"-plumage. Natural shot, well taken, well composed, an interesting bird too.
Thanks a lot for picture and note.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-09-28 8:25]

Thanks, Anna, for sharing with us this image and note. It's all to me. Lovely capture! Most interesting!

Enjoy your weekend,


Interesting bird and beautiful photo Anna! Nice pose, good composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness!

Hi Anna,
Great job. You cropped the image drastically as you said, but I don't detect too much quality loss except for a little background noise. The subject's placed well, she's sharp, in eye contact with the photographer / camera, so I find this image quite good. Technical details are satisfying, too. Congratulations, tfs.
Best regards, László

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-11-04 5:48]

Hello Anna
very beautiful shot. The glance is so meaningful in this composition. The features and colour are so well seen.
I like the view of the bird and the branches.
Clean view without distraction.
A big congrats for the Kruger series.


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