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Great Spotted Cuckoo

Great Spotted 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: 2012-03-28
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/5.2, 1/40 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-09-28 7:30
Viewed: 4680
Points: 62
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Great Spotted Cuckoo / Clamator glandarius

Today I share number 64 in the series of birds of the Kruger National Park, the Great Spotted Cuckoo. This image was taken during a short visit to the Kruger in March 2012, and just as with the Jacobin Cuckoo, I was fortunate to have been able to photograph it, as this was also 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 2005 by Elroyie David (elroyie).

A renowned brood parasite, the great spotted cuckoo has beautifully patterned plumage. The upperparts are mostly a dusky, greyish-brown colour, while the tips of the wing and tail feathers are brilliant white. These appear as spots when the wings are closed, giving the bird its common name. The throat is light buff, and the rest of the under parts are bright white. The pale grey feathers on top of the great spotted cuckoo's head can be erected as a small crest. The adult male and female great spotted cuckoo are similar in appearance, while the juvenile has a black head and reddish-brown on the wings, with buffer under parts. The call of the great spotted cuckoo includes a series of short, harsh syllables, as well as trills and cackles.

The great spotted cuckoo is an insectivore, feeding mainly on large caterpillars which, remarkably, it will remove any hairs from before eating. It will also take other prey, including termites, moths and even small lizards.

As is typical of cuckoos, the great spotted cuckoo is a brood parasite. The female lays the eggs in the nests of another species, known as the 'host', and the young cuckoo is then raised by the host parents. Typical hosts include various species of crow and starling in Africa, with magpies being the principal host in Spain.

The female cuckoo adds one to six eggs to the host’s nest, which then hatch before the eggs of the host, giving the cuckoo chicks a head start. The hatchling cuckoo does not evict the other eggs or hatchlings from the nest, but competes with them for food, making begging calls similar to the host's own chicks. The demanding cuckoo fledges after about 22 days, but is still fed by its foster parents for up to 59 days afterwards. The host receives no benefit from this relationship.

In the northern summertime, the great spotted cuckoo breeds in southern and eastern Europe and northern Africa, around the Mediterranean, and as far east as Iraq and Iran. In winter, the majority of great spotted cuckoos migrate south, some travelling beyond the Sahara, although some populations remain in Spain all year round.

A population also breeds in southern Africa during the southern hemisphere summer, and migrates north for the winter. Due to these migration patterns it is possible to see breeding and non-breeding cuckoos in the same area.

A population of great spotted cuckoos also occurs year-round in eastern Africa, undertaking just short, local movements in response to rainfall


Open woodland is the principal habitat of the great spotted cuckoo. It is found in semi-arid scrub in Africa, and savannah-like heath land with some trees in Europe. It also lives in dry cultivated areas in the Middle East. Source

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

KOMSIS, ramthakur, flashpoint, Mamagolo2, Ishi, Hotelcalifornia, Maynayquan, energypolice, nasokoun, marine-coeur, Jakkals, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2013-09-28 7:42]

Hallo Anna,
A lovely capture of this beautiful Great Spotted Cuckoo ..
Beautiful natural colours and a nice pose with eye contact. .
Have a nice weekend,

Beautiful bird from your archives, Anna.
The plumage of this Cuckoo is so very attractive with subtle shades of colours and white spots on them.
The slightly turned head gives a nice view of the eye with catch-light in it.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-09-28 8:36]

Hello Anna,
Another beauty in the series. Fine photo of this Great Spotted Cuckoo in bright colours and a very attractive pose. Impressive eye contact. Nice blurry background.

hallo Anna
this is a beauty with good details to see of this bird
the colours and composition are beautiful
thanks greeting lou

Hello Anna,
WOW, what a sighting! You were so lucky to see one of these. In all my years living right next to the KNP I've never had the privilege to see one of these stunning birds. Fantastic colour and detail. I love the catch light in the eye. Congratulations my friend for a photo well taken even if you had to crop it.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-09-28 10:14]

HI Anna,absolutely beautifukl the bird and absolutely great your capture,the colors and the details are really the best,very nice pose too and a perfect use of flash for the best result.Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello Anna,
Nice bird,captured with fine details and colours.TFS.

Hello Anna,
I still say you should publish a book on the birds of KNP. This is a beautiful image of this colourful bird. What a pleasure to view! And a very interesting note too. Best wishes.

Hi Anna!
What a lovely bird and you have captured it very well. Nice color variations. A small dot of light in eye is very attractive. A nice PoV and very good depth. TFS
Best Regards

Ciao Anna, great capture of lovely bird in nice pose on beautiful blurry BG, splendid sharpness, fine details and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-09-28 23:48]

Yes another cuckoo! Great! They are quite different from the European species.

Thanks for sharing these with us.

All the best,


Hello Anna,
It's a rare specie here in TN.After joining TN I haven't seen.Well capture.Although it was far from you,but we can cherish its details quite well.Nice dots all over her wings.Catching light on eye made it attractive.
Thanks for sharing a such rare specie here in TN,
Regards and have a nice Sunday,

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-09-29 5:34]

Hi Anna,
Beautiful cuckoo in amazing colors. Perfect composition and details.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • IronM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 3 N: 345] (2608)
  • [2013-09-29 5:50]

Hi Anna,
what a beautiful bird you caught, wonderful natural colors and details, good use of light, well composed too !
Best regards !

Hello Anna
Very beautiful picture of this Great Spotted Cuckoo.
Sharp and very perfect colour.
blurry Bg makes this beautiful.
best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2013-09-29 9:18]

Una foto muy bonita y bien compuesta de este precioso cuco! Enhorabuena y gracias por compartirla. Un saludo.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-09-29 13:28]

Hello Anna.
Excellent image with great composition and OOF background. Great detail and colours. Its a great piece of photography.Regards Siggi

Hi Anna,
So nice to see another impressive capture of another species of cuckoo! I love its beautiful colors and its pose in the wonderful blurred BG. Thanks and have a great Monday!

Hello Anna,
Outstanding photograph of Great Spotted Cuckoo, excellent sharpness and details, good composition, outstanding background and lighting.
Thanks for sharing,

very beautiful specie, your composition is great, photo with fine quality!
regards Anna

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-10-06 3:07]

Hi Anna
such a pretty bird and you composed it so well with sharpness and clarity. The details are so amazing.
Excellent work ans wonderful rich nature is well reflected in this shot.
Well presented.


A great and lovely eye contact with our Dear photographer
and indeed what an amazing 3D picture by beautiful details and colours

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-10-15 19:34]

Hello Anna,
This is probably the most colorful member of the Cuckoo Bird family that I have ever seen. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be while inflight, with all the contrasting colors and intricate markings it has in it's plumage. You were very fortunate to have captured it out in the open like this, thus giving us a great look at not only it's breathtaking colors, but also it's unique body features.

Hello Anna,
This is amazing bird picture.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2013-11-04 14:35]

bela foto com cores e nitidez agradáveis muto bem trabalhada meus parabéns.

Hello Anna,
Very interesting bird has a nice head of hair. Anne, you're about birds of paradise. Anna, birds of paradise around you.

Hallo Anna,
A beautiful capture indeed. I envy you. What I like about this photograph is the diagonal pose captured with your trademark, . . . sharpness and detail. It's a pity it was at a distance if you know what I mean. The colours are beautiful and the eye contact is excellently captured. Nice work my friend.
Best regards,
Uiteindelik is ek weer terug op TN en kan nie wag vir Mei 2014 nie. Dan gaan ek en Annetjie na 35 jaar diens (albei) met pensioen. Dan met die genade van BO kan ons kom en gaan soos ons wil. Dink net, geen base, nie nodig om te kyk hoeveel verlof het nie, ens. Groete vir Loot.

Hi Anna,
A beautiful Great Spotted Cuckoo.


Hello Anna

It is a beautiful bird this Great Spotted Cuckoo, excellent photo
with fine POV obtaining his eye-contact and the catch-light
rendering the photo more beautiful, TFS


Hi Anna,

wow it seems like a juvenile! Do they breed at South Africa?

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2014-08-30 19:41]

Well done with this image Anna. I remember it was still early morning and there wasn't much light yet. You've managed to get good definition though and a lovely highlight in the eye.
Good effort and thanks for sharing.

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