Common name: Squirrel Cuckoo
Range: The Squirrel cuckoo is mostly found in the Neotropic Eco zone of the world. The bird occurs from north to southern Sonora and southern Tamaulipas of North Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica of center American countries, South America, Peru, South to northern Argentina and east of the Andes. This bird has very broad elevational distribution among these countries. Other than America you can’t find this bird because it is endemic to America. Among all these places, Costa Rica is treated as the best place to see this bird because of the best tourist infrastructure of this country.
Size: This extremely long-tailed cuckoo is 40.5-50 centimeters (15.9-20 inches) long
Weight: The large Squirrel cuckoo weighs around 95-120 grams (3.4-4.2 Oz)
Diet: When you consider about this Squirrel Cuckoo it normally gets the prey as foliage one by quick lunge. It usually feeds on insects like wasps, cicadas and caterpillars including the one with stinging heads and wings. It occasionally eats spiders and lizards available in the forest. It rarely eats fruit and it catches the wasps by air through the excellent flight capacity of it. The group of Squirrel Cuckoo tries to attack the ants-column and takes off with the flushed prey of ants. Sometimes they also search forage by roaming the forest.
Average lifespan: The lifespan of this Squirrel Cuckoo can’t be determined as the accurate one. But, normally the cuckoo birds can live from 4-6 years.
Habitat: It is the bird that mostly lives in the forested habitats of countries throughout the America. You can find them in the humid forest, semi humid forest, plantations, deciduous forest, forest edges and even on the scattered trees of an open country. Normally it makes the residence in the tree as hidden dense vegetation of 1-12 m high.
In most of the countries it lives over some high. In Mexico it can live up to 2000 m from the sea level, up to 2450 m in Costa Rica, Regularly 1500 m in Ecuador countries, Over 1800 m in Panama, usually below 1200 m in the north Orinoco and 2500 m in Venezuela.
Breeding/Reproduction: The breeding season of Squirrel Cuckoo varies depending on the place. The first thing is to build the nest. Both the male and female birds involve in forming the nest. They make the nest probably with fresh leaves or with sticks and leaves. The foundation of nest is made by sticks and twigs. The male Squirrel Cuckoo is responsible for bringing the things needed for forming the nest and the female bird forms the nest according to the convenient.
They probably build two nests in the shape of cup. One nest sizes as 17.8 cm wide by 6.4 cm deep. Another nest measures as an outer depth and inner diameter as 8.9 cm and outer diameter as 15.2-17.8 cm. The female bird normally lays 2 to 3 eggs, which are unmarked and chalky white in color. Both birds would take care of the incubation over the period of 18-19 days. Each takes the turn as 6-8 hours to incubate. They also take care of the cleaning of nests. Every day they replace the leaves of nest by fresh leaves.
Both parents would take care of feeding to their children. After eight days of incubation, the young one started to surround the branches of tree and then it get back to the nest.
Squirrel Cuckoo is the bird along with long tail and plumage that normally remembers the Red squirrel, when it jumps over the tree. Both sexes are similar in the shape and color. But the adult one has some different shapes and different colors. It has upper parts of the chestnuts as the rich one and the tail is tipped black and white. Chin and throat of the adult squirrel cuckoo will be pale reddish on the lower parts. Eyes have the bare yellow-green skin as the eye ring and with red in color. Belly and breast of the bird are grey in color and there is black under tail coverts. Legs and feet of this bird are pale bluish-grey.
All these colors make the squirrel cuckoo as the colorful bird. Because of this reason most of the tourists of Costa Rica prefers to see this bird when they visit. The color variation and the plumage separate this species into 14 subspecies. Two main subspecies of Squirrel Cuckoo are,
• P.c. mexicanus, which is pale and bright and normally found in Western Mexico
• P.c. thermophila, which is available in Costa Rica of Central America and Eastern Mexico. It is normally darkened overall with black and tipped with white in under tail
Apart from these two subspecies, you can also find some subspecies in Northern South America and Western South America. These subspecies has the yellow eye ring that doesn’t remain in other subspecies available in other parts of South America.
Squirrel Cuckoo appears to be quite tolerant among human disturbances, untill the wooden land remains. This type of Cuckoo is treated as the bold and conspicuous one compare to other cuckoos all over the world.
When you visit Costa Rica with your family or with your companion, then it would be better to watch the activities of this bird from the nationalized parks available in Costa Rica. You can find the bird in Monteverde Cloud Forrest Reserve, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Juan Castro Bianco National Park and Chirripo National Park. If you go through these parks, then you can enjoy with your family because of the natural sceneries and the presence of Squirrel Cuckoo bird.
If you think about the voice of this bird, there are different sounds you can hear from it. It explores the prolonged whistle notes in the voice normally in the season of April to August. It is also treated as the melodious voice that gives pleasant feeling to the people. This would also make the environment of parks of the Costa Rica as the best and enjoyable one.
Because of this if you visit Costa Rica next time, and then don’t forget to visit the national parks to get the pleasant moments of your life along with the Squirrel Cuckoo. They will rejuvenate your spirit and will bring happiness in your mood.