Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fan-tailed cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis

(Photo from Tom Clark - Beyond the Pale)

Common name:
fan-tailed cuckoo (en); cuco-de-cauda-em-leque (pt); coucou à éventail (fr); cuco flabeliforme (es); fächerschwanzkuckuck (de)

Taxonomy:
Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae

Range:
This species is found in southern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia, the Salomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Size:
These birds are 24-28 cm long and weigh about 50-60 g.

Habitat:
The fan-tailed cuckoo is found in open forests and woodlands, in both temperate and tropical areas, dry scrublands and mangroves.

Diet:
They hunt insects and their larvae, particularly caterpillars, by sallying out from a perch.

Breeding:
Fan-tailed cuckoos breed in June-December. They are brood parasites, laying their eggs on the nests of other birds, such as flycatchers, fairy-wrens, scrubwrens and thornbills, particularly the brown thornbill Acanthiza pusilla. The female lays a single egg in each nests, removing one of the host's eggs at the same time. The egg in incubated by the hosts and hatches after 13 days, before the host's eggs start hatching. The chick will eject the other eggs or hatchlings from the nest and is fed by the hosts until fledging.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be common in much of this range. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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