Friday, May 13, 2016

Friday's Foto

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is a long distant migrant that overwinters primarily in South America in Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. They are common breeders in open woodlands with dense undergrowth, riparian corridors, and parks of eastern North America. Nesting populations in the western part of the country have declined dramatically and they have been extirpated in Washington state.

More often heard than seen, this shy bird will sit quietly in the canopy searching for caterpillars, katydids, cicadas, grasshoppers and crickets. They are one of the few bird species that can eat hairy caterpillars and respond well to outbreaks of tent caterpillars. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo is one of a small number of North American songbirds who are zygodactyl, that is, they have two toes that face forward and two that face back.

Yellow-billed Cuckoos are sometimes referred to as the "Rain Crow" as they appear to call more often on cloudy days.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists this bird as "Least Concern" despite declines in the west.

The scientific name, Coccyzus americanus, means American Crying Cuckoo.

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