Saturday, October 19, 2013
Lately, I have had cuckoos on my mind. There was a week or so last year when you couldn't bird just about anywhere in central Honduras without seeing at least one of the Coccyzus cuckoos – usually the more common Yellow-billed Cuckoo. But that was late September / early October, and after mid-October this year, I thought the window was closing on them, and I wasn't going to see one this year.
Then suddenly there was this hatch-year Black-billed Cuckoo in my own backyard this morning! Probably not a rarity in Honduras, where the entire North American population must pass through in migration twice a year, but all the same a species rarely reported, due to its secretive habits.
Now I need to find me a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
27 October 2013 postscript:
Eight days later and 200 m further, Roselvy and I found an immature Black-billed Cuckoo today! According to eBird, nobody else is reporting this species in Central America this fall, and here we are with two immature Black-billed Cuckoos. Are they the same bird? It seems likely, yet I'm not 100% convinced that they are. Here are some photos of today's bird, seen along the dirt road that goes up to Cerro de Hula (Honduras). As I said, this is roughly 200 m from our backyard.
We're looking at the other side of the face, compared to last week's bird. But note the distribution of the darker color on the (lower) mandible. Here's a photo in which the bird turned its head:
Compare that to the bird at the top of this post, and tell me if it's the same bird or not.
I never did find that Yellow-billed Cuckoo...
Friday, September 28, 2012
Never before have I seen as many Coccyzus (i.e. Yellow-billed and Black-billed) cuckoos as in the last week or so. Down here in Honduras, these birds seem to be everywhere right now. The majority of what I've seen thus far have been Yellow-billed Cuckoos, which sometimes aggregate in small migrant flocks of up to 10 individuals.
This is a first fall Black-billed Cuckoo, with a dull yellow (instead of red) orbital ring.