Wednesday 20 December 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 595 - Great Lizard-Cuckoo

When I was away last month I also went to Cuba.  Not a place that has really been on my radar in the past, but what a remarkable country.  Amazing birds, food, history - and for the most part - great weather.

One of the first birds we found in Cuba were a pair (?) of Great Lizard-Cuckoos (Coccyzus merlini). This bird is only found in the Bahamas and Cuba.  The birds we saw were on the mainland of Cuba which make them the sub-species Coccyzus merlini merlini.

Unsurprisingly this species was a life tick for me - and it was a great way to start birding in Cuba.

This bird is a common breeding bird in Cuba, it is 42 to 54 cm long, about half of which is the tail, and weighs about 100 to 155 g. Both sexes have the same plumage, but males are slight larger than females.  When they call, the starting phrases seemed similar to the laughing call of Laughing Kookaburra.  The call certainly made me do a double take the first time I heard it.

These birds feed on frogs, snakes, birds' eggs, nestlings and large insects. Unlike other cuckoos this species builds its own nest, and incubates two to three of its own eggs. 

These birds were rather far away, and often shaded or hidden by foliage, so pictures were not always easy to get.

This is the WBW post that covers Christmas - so I hope you have a good break, see lots of Christmas birds (winter or summer depending on hemisphere) and have a generally good time!

As ever, to join in with WBW click the link below.  SM

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  1. Hari OM
    How wonderful to be able to do a Cuba tour with David as well as Canada! That's a fine first sighting indeed... YAM xx

  2. Season's greetings! Happy birding in 2024!

  3. What an exciting post this week! I've never seen that bird either. Despite some time in the Caribbean, which is a magical magical place. Glad you got to enjoy it. Aloha! Stewart

  4. She looks elegant and beautiful.

  5. WOW What a beautiful tail that bird has Stewart. Thanks for hosting and commenting. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas next week

  6. A beauty and a rare one! Love it.

  7. Very handsome and imposing species. You had some very nice views despite their reclusive behavior.

  8. You had a wonderful treat with that trip! Thanks for sharing your finds with us. Merry Christmas to you and yours, with hopes for a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  9. Hello Stewart :=) It is a very attractive bird, I know it from seeing it on David's blog and admired it's very beautiful tail. I think these are lovely shots, in spite of your difficulties.
    All the best, and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    Best Wishes

  10. What a long tail! Enjoy your holidays!

  11. Les cuculidés sont discrets et rapides, ils ne doivent pas être vus ! Bravo pour cette série.
    Joyeuse Saint Sylvestre.