Over wintering cuckoo's

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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Over wintering cuckoo's

Postby fras444 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:34 pm

One the subject of shinning cuckoo's being heard...
Does anyone have any first hand accounts on both species of cuckoo's over-wintering in NZ?
Any idea of it being a regular thing, their behaviour, possible numbers that would stay in nz, what would be the reasons for staying and where one would most likely to find them during our winter months.
Anyone personally ever come across these birds during the winter months?
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Re: Over wintering cuckoo's

Postby FraserGurney » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:40 pm

Hi Fraser (cool name!) I heard one in mid-April this year by Lake Sylvan in Mount Aspiring National Park, although I suppose it could have been a late departing juvenile.
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Re: Over wintering cuckoo's

Postby RussCannings » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:18 pm

While I haven't seen or heard either before September myself, most authorities suggest small numbers overwinter each year, and this is backed up by anecdotal reports in this group. Visual reports are of course much rarer than heard only records so they may prove to be even scarcer than some would believe (due to pesky Song Thrush impressions and so on). Not surprisingly, most winter records come from the North Island where caterpillars etc are easier to come by in the colder months.

Why would they do it? Probably a variety of reasons but I would guess the top three situations would be 1) Minor injuries to flight feathers or muscles during migration window. 2) Juveniles with wonky navigation systems 3) Entrepreneurial males who reckon it's worth sleeping through a few frosts in order to get first dibs on prime breeding sites.

Just my guesses based on my experiences with overwintering neotropic passerines in Canada. Not sure if one could really study this in NZ since they're so scarce and inconspicuous in winter here.

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Re: Over wintering cuckoo's

Postby fras444 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:00 pm

Hahaha coolest rare name I know very few Fraser's and always such a weird experience meeting one!!!

I definitely find these sort of things so fascinating.
Especially when you read in bird guides or nzbirds online about cuckoos and how, a number of birds may... MAY... over winter and reading the recent post about hearing shining cuckoo's... You wonder just how many of the longtailed/shinning cuckoo's are still out there in our forest's, at the night of winter and where they might just be...

Would it be like finding a fiourdland moose.... Would discovering a flock of cuckoo's in June/July over wintering in NZ, have to be up there with the excitement/ birding highlight of a rare/vagrant bird sighting...

One should go on like a moose chase, finding out whether these birds winter here, getting some photos, finding put if it's young ones, males, or injured ones like you hypothesized Russ. It would be so fascinating to see what percentage of cuckoo's do over winter here. They must be so cryptic during these winter months. Someone who lives up north should soo!!! go on one of these "wild" winter cuckoo hunt!!!!

For a bird the size of a falcon.... those long taileds can be
Soo hard to find when they are screeching their lungs out imagine a silent long-tailed in that wind swept twiggy Manuka/Kanuka scrub Northland!!!!

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