The Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus) belongs to the family of cuckoos, roadrunners and koels, Cuculidae.
These cuckoo species are distributed in parts of north and northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea.
These Himalayan cuckoo species are brood parasites, laying eggs in the nest of other birds and rely on the host to raise their young. There are two recognized subspecies of the Himalayan cuckoo.
Himalayan cuckoo - Overview
- Scientific name: Cuculus saturatus
- Species author: Blyth, 1843
- Synonyms/Protonym: Cuculus saturatus Blyth, 1843
- Family: Cuculidae › Cuculiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
- Vernacular names: English: Himalayan cuckoo, Chinese: 中杜鹃, French: Coucou oriental, German: Hopfkuckuck, Spanish: Cuco oriental, Russian: Глухая кукушка, Japanese: ツツドリ, Malay: Burung Sewah Dada Putih, Indonesian: Burung Kangkok Ranting
- Other names: Blyth's Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, Horsfield's or Sunda Cuckoo
- Distribution: northern India bordering south Himalayas, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea
- Diet and feeding habits: wild fruits, berries, insects, hairy caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas, dragonflies
- IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The two recognized subspecies of Cuculus saturatus are: C. s. optatus Gould, 1845, and C. s. saturatus Blyth, 1843. C. [s.] optatus was considered as separate species due to distinct song. However, the differences are considered as minor and C. s. optatus is given subspecies status.
Appearance, physical description and identificationThe Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus) is a small cuckoo, measuring 30 to 35 cm in length and weighing 70 to 140 grams. The upperside is dark ash gray. The head, neck, throat and nape are pale ash gray. The tail is dark grayish brown with pale stripes and spots. The breast is whitish with dark gray stripes. The undertail is creamy white with dark stripes.
The tail of these Himalayan cuckoo species is rounded with whitish tip. The upper mandible is pale gray with pale yellow base. The lower mandible pale yellow. The feet are pale yellow. The irises are pale brown. The bare ring around the eyes is yellow. The male sings around dawn and dusk.
|Birds of India - Image of Himalayan cuckoo - Cuculus saturatus|
|Indian birds - Photo of Himalayan cuckoo - Cuculus saturatus|
|Birds of India - Picture of Himalayan cuckoo - Cuculus saturatus by ken|
Origin, geographical range and distributionThe Himalayan cuckoo subspecies C. s. saturatus is distributed in parts of north and northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, southern China, Taiwan, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea.
The subspecies C. s. optatus is distributed in European Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, north China, Korea and Japan. Wintering populations are found in southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.
In India, the Himalayan cuckoo is distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, north Punjab, north Haryana, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, north West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram.
Ecosystem and habitatThese Himalayan cuckoo species are moderately forest dependent. They inhabit various boreal, montane forests and wooded ecosystems.
These Himalayan cuckoo species inhabit boreal forests, high coniferous forests, tropical and subtropical forests, broad-leaved forests, taiga, moist montane forests, mixed coniferous/deciduous forests, ravines, wetland fringes, temperate shrublands and temperate forests. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 4500 meters.
Diet and feeding behaviorThe diet of these Himalayan cuckoo species is mostly caterpillars. Their primary food is caterpillars and large insects like grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets and dragonflies. They are also known to feed on fruits, berries and plant matter.
Reproduction and breeding habitsThe breeding season of the Himalayan cuckoo species is in May and June in Kashmir and from March to August in Nepal. These Himalayan cuckoo species are brood parasites, mostly laying eggs in the nests of small warblers of the Phylloscopus genus.
Migration and movement patternsThe Himalayan cuckoo is a fully migrant bird. The breeding populations occur in European Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, north China, Korea, Japan, north and northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Taiwan and Thailand.
These species migrate to Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia for wintering. Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.
Conservation and survivalThe global population size of the Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus) is estimated to be around 5,000,000 to 14,000,000 mature individual birds. The overall population size of these Himalayan cuckoo species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be generally common. The generation length is 7.0 years. Their distribution size is about 36,600,000 sq.km.
The Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. The ongoing destruction of their habitat is the main threat that may endanger the survival of these species.
IUCN and CITES statusThe IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the cuckoo species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus).
1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oriental_Cuckoo_front_Maiala.JPG
Image author: Aviceda | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oriental_Cuckoo_Maiala.JPG
Image author: Aviceda | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_san/253693788/
Image author: ken | License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (as on 11-02-2017)
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