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The Male in the Family Stays Very Busy

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The Male in the Family Stays Very Busy

While the female Black Eagle is the head of the household over on her cliff, in a much smaller place, and closer to the ground, the male of another species is the main caregiver of the family.  The Burchell's Coucal, a species of cuckoo, is endemic (lives only) to Africa, specifically South Africa. While watching the cams we sometimes hear their unique call, but very rarely see them. Why? They are bush dwellers and rain lovers...making South Africa perfect for their life style. South African lore tells of this birds distinctive call sounding like water pouring from a bottle, announcing to all that rain will soon arrive.  He's referred to as the Rainbird in the story, a fond nickname that still follows him today.

Nesting season brings a change from the normal bird behavior.  The male starts by building the nest, a ram-shackled collection of grass and leaves, and shapes it into a deep cup shape.  He builds it around 0.5-10m above ground in one of his favorite hiding places within the dense brush.  The female lays  2-5 eggs sometime between September-March.  And guess who incubates the eggs most of the time? Yep, the male.  Oh, and Dad does almost all the hunting as well. 
The chicks grow, with their feet developing rapidly, allowing the little ones to clamber around in the bushes long before they can fly.  By 21 days old the birds leave the nest, but are still dependent on the parents for many weeks. 
Voracious predators, this bird feeds mainly on small animals, foraging in the bushes and devouring a great variety of prey, including bugs, small birds, mice, snakes, lizards, and frogs to name a few. They have even been known to snag a domestic chicken for dinner when the opportunity presents itself, much to the dismay of the local farmer.  Take a listen to the soothing sound, and watch as this rare sighting on the cam shows the Burchell's Coucal searching for a tidbit to eat.

sound clip -       Busy Bird -