Notes on the Common Cuckoo in India

Published on 01 June 1908 in Main articles

So much has been written on the subject of the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) that one might suppose nothing more remains to be recorded; yet the following notes, based on observations of this species in the Northwestern Himalayas, may be of interest to the readersIn the North-Western Himalayas this bird arrives at its breeding grounds about the middle of April, and from the middle of this month to the middle of June its familiar call is a common sound on the hill-sides ; but once the middle of the month is past it gradually decreases. The latest record I have is July 13th. During the time that the call is uttered, I have noticed that the body is by no means invariably held in the horizontal position with which we are most of us familiar. On the contrary, it sometimes assumes a semi-upright attitude. Further, I have noticed that while the call is being made the body is swayed slightly from side to side, and this swaying motion is especially marked in the tail. In my experience the Cuckoo’s notes do not alter as the season advances, though the contrary is usually held to be the case. The bird is probably more vigorous at the beginning of the season, and the call may then be more prolonged. The typical tri-sj^llabic call is, I believe, entirely connected with the proximity of the female. The well-known variations of the ordinary call are as likely to be heard at the beginning as at

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