Cuckoo is a Dove-sized bird with ash-grey upper parts and dark-barred white belly. Cuckoos are very hard to spot. If you do manage to see a Cuckoo, you will probably see it as a dark, streamlined shape flying quite fast across fields between woodland. But it is quite likely that you have already heard one. A male Cuckoo announcing his presence, is making characteristic «cuck-oo, cuck-oo» sounds.
Cuckoos are fairly common in all types of terrain, in woodland and in open country right up to mountain slopes. The most interesting thing about Cuckoo is that it does not make its' own nest. They plant their egg into other species nests. The young Cuckoo hatches before the nesting bird’s own eggs and it pushes out the rest of the eggs.
What do they eat? Cuckoos eat mainly caterpillars of different butterflies and beetles. Only cuckoos use woolly bear caterpillars for food. They have not special preferences in feed and they catch most numerous insects. For example if caterpillars disappear cuckoos start eating beetles and other arthropods.
Cuckoo’s nests Cuckoos have unusual way of nesting. Instead of building their own nest they put their eggs to the nests of other birds such as chiff-chaffs, pipits and other perching birds. Female finds appropriate nest and when masters leave it throws one of the eggs out and replace it by its egg. By its colors Cuckoo’s eggs are similar to eggs of nests’ masters. Sometimes parents can be much smaller than adopted cuckoo’s nestling but they didn’t notice difference and for days together bring feed for their huge foster-child. Cuckoos start breeding in the middle of May and continue during the whole June. Some eggs seem to appear in nests in early July. Young individuals flying badly can be met till early August.
Wintering Cuckoos spend winter in Tropical and Southern Africa, on Arabian Peninsula, India and Indo-China.
Distribution of Cuckoos in Uzbekistan Breeding area is wide it covers whole Eurasia from the north of forest zone to the Mediterranean, Syria and Indo-China inclusive on the south as well as whole Africa excepting its deserts. Common Cuckoo in Uzbekistan is breeding and migratory specie of plains and mountains. On breeding observed in Amudariya and Sirdatiya river valleys and in their feeders, in artificial and agricultural oasis and in mountain part of Uzbekistan.
Number of Cuckoos and its distribution depends on presence of some passers which take care of their nestlings. In Uzbekistan Greet Reed Warbler is one of such species. Highest number of this species registered on reservoirs of plains where from one point you can hear several males crying «cuckoo».