Yellow-billed Cuckoo

This morning the exotic, percussive call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo came from somewhere among the dense green leaves of a tall pecan tree in a neighbor’s yard – ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-cow-cowp-cowp-cowp. Though I didn’t manage to see the elegant bird among the leaves in the treetop, the call alone was bright and welcome enough. I had just about given up on finding even one Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the woods around our neighborhood this summer, so it’s great just to know at least one is here.

Moving quietly through the canopy, where it prefers to stay, the sleek, slender bird – with velvet-brown back and head, creamy white breast and belly, long, down-curved bill, yellow on the bottom, and long, dramatically-spotted black and white tail – deliberately makes its way through the branches, eating caterpillars and other insects, now and then giving its clear, expressive call.

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