Indian Cuckoo feasting on caterpillars

“This is one happy Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus) wintering at the former Bidadari cemetary LINK which is slated for development. It sat on the one branch for over 10 minutes just plucking off caterpillars next to it every few seconds… Life doesn’t get much better than this!

“Would this be an Albizia tree (Paraserianthes falcataria) that the Cuckoo is in? If so, it may be Common Grass Yellow caterpillars (expert confirmation required) that this Cuckoo and other migrant species transiting at Bidadari are filling up on. In the past few months, Bidadari has hosted numerous flycatcher species – Yellow-rumped, Asian Paradise, Japanese Paradise, Asian Brown, Brown-chested Jungle, Blue-and-white, Mugimaki, Ferruginous; various Cuckoos – Hodgson’s Hawk, Indian, Drongo, Chestnut-winged and a rare grey morph Oriental. Also passing through was a Crow-billed Drongo, Siberian Thrushes, Ruddy & Black-backed Kingfishers, Tiger Shrikes, Arctic Warblers, and Ashy Minivets. More migrants to come for sure before springtime next year. Such a pity this little wooded cove will be but a construction site next winter LINK.”

Lena Chow
Singapore
November 2012

2 Responses

  1. Fantastic video. I wonder if the birds know which caterpillars to avoid? Some are toxic – but do they learn this from experience, or is it inherent knowledge programmed into their genes?

  2. Of course birds know which caterpillars to avoid. If they eat the wrong caterpillar, they will invariably vomit it out. The next time they will know what to avoid. Probably programmed in their genes as well as through experience – my guess.

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