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lower breast streaked with crimson and the lower tail- coverts also
tinged with the same colour ; under wing-coverts and inner lining
of the quills ashy-white.

Iris reddish-brown to blood-red ; bill light yellowish-green tipped
with bluish or dusky ; legs and feet dusky-ash.

Length about 8'0 ; wing 3-8 ; tail 3-15 ; culmen 0'95 ; tarsus 1-1.

In the female the black pectoral band is not so broad, and the
red streaks on the lower breast are less marked ; the dimensions
are about the same.

FIG. 5G. Tracliyplionus cafer. x }.

Distribution. Levaillant's Barbet appears to be most abundant
in the Eustenburg division of the Transvaal, whence it extends to
Bechuanaland, Khodesia, and Natal, where, however, it appears to
be rare. It has recently been obtained from Nyasaland and has
once occurred in southern Angola.

The following are recorded localities: Natal Weenen (Bt. Mus.),
Verulam and Echowe (Woodward) ; Transvaal Lydenburg dist.
(Francis in S. A. Mus.), Eustenburg (Ayres and Barratt); Bechuana-
land Kanye (Exton), Boatlenami (Ayres) ; Ehodesia Hanyani
river (Marshall) ; Portuguese east Africa Tete (Kirk).

Habits. Levaillant's Barbet is not a shy bird though quiet and
not often noticed; it is generally found in thick bush whence its
loud and peculiar note can be sometimes heard ; Ayres compared
this to an alarum clock going off and constantly repeated every few
minutes. Sometimes the bird sits on a conspicuous dead branch to
go through this performance, and can be seen to jerk its body forward
and throw up its bill when producing this sound. Like other
Barbets it has a mixed diet consisting of fruits and berries, leaves
and insects ; Marshall obtained one feeding on the ground among


some gigantic ant heaps, and afterwards found its stomach con-
tained only termites. Major Sparrow of the 7th Dragoon Guards
informs me that he recently found four young birds of this species in
a hole in a branch of a fig- tree at Waschbank in Natal, on Nov. 7th.

Suborder VI. COCCYGES.

Plantar tendons Galline, i.e., as in Passeres, but connected by
a vinculum so that the flexor longus hallucis supplies the hallux
only, and the flexor perforans digitorum leads to the second, third,
and fourth digits (fig. 26, p. 2) ; palate desmognathous ; ambiens
muscle present.

Family 1. CUCULID^E.

Bill of varying shape ; wings with ten primaries ; feet zygo-
dactyle, the first and fourth toes directed backwards ; tail feathers
ten in number (except in some American genera) ; habits generally

Anatomical characters, are : caeca present ; both carotids present ;
contour feathers without after-shaft ; oil gland present but nude.

FIG. 57. Left foot of Cuculus gularis, toes numbered, x \.

Cuckoos are distributed all over the world though most numerous
in tropical countries ; they vary greatly in habits and nidification,
some being parasitic in this respect, others building nests for


Key of the Genera.

A . Wings long and pointed ; difference between the
length of the primaries and secondaries
greater than the length of the tarsus
a. No occipital crest.

a 1 . Plumage never metallic ; sexes alike Cuculus, p. 174.

ft 1 . Plumage brilliantly metallic ; sexes dis-
similar Chrijsococcyx, p. 184.

6. A strong crest on the head Coccystes, p. 192.

J5. Wings short and rounded ; the difference be-
tween the primaries and secondaries about
half the length of the tarsus (Centropince).

a. Hind claw elongated to twice the length of

the others, straight and lark-like Centropus, p. 202.

b. Hind claw curved and normal, not longer than

the others Ceuthmochares, p. 210.

Subfamily I. CUCULIN^.

Wings long, pointed and flat, not fitting to the sides of the body ;
distance between the tips of the primaries and secondaries greater
than the length of the tarsus or culmen ; tarsus more or less
feathered in front and also covered by the long thigh feathers.

FIG. 58. Wing of Guculus gularis. x \.

Anatomical characters are : the absence of the femoro-caudal
muscle in the thigb, and the presence of a simple undivided band of
feathers on each side of the naked pectoro-ventral tract. Nearly all
the birds contained in this subfamily are of parasitic babits.



Cuculus, Linn. Syst. Nat. 12th ed. i, p. 168 (1766) C. canorus.

Bill moderate, nostrils somewhat rounded and pierced in a
swollen membrane ; no crest on the head ; wings long and pointed,
the third quill the longest, exceeding the secondaries by almost half
the length of the wing ; tail shorter than the wings and graduated.
Plumage of the adult slaty or black, never metallic, that of the
young bird usually barred. This genus is spread over the whole
of the Old World except the Pacific Islands ; out of seven African
species, five reach our limits, two of them, however, being only
visitors from the northern hemisphere.

Cuckoos are birds of strong flight and remarkable habits, they
a,re most of them migratory and have a loud and resonant note
which renders them well known in every country. They do not
pair but indulge in promiscuous intercourse, and the females deposit
their eggs in the nests of other birds. It is now generally agreed
that, as Levaillant stated a century ago, the female bird lays her
egg on the ground and conveys it in her mouth to the nest selected.
In the case of the European cuckoo, the parent apparently takes no
further heed of her eggs or young, but one or two observations
made in this country seem to point to the fact that the parents
hang round the nest of the foster bird and perhaps sometimes assist
to feed the callow young one.

Key of the Species.

A. Slaty above, barred below.
a. Throat grey.

a 1 . Beak yellow except the extreme tip ;

outer tail-feather barred with white... C. gularis, p. 174.
&'. Beak black, outer tail-feather spotted
along the shaft, with no complete bars.
a?. Larger, wing 8 to 9 inches ; bars on

the chest dusky C. canorus, p. 177.

6 2 . Smaller, wing 6 to 7 inches ; bars on

the chest black C. poliocephalus, p. 178.

6. Throat rich rufous C. solitarius, p. 178.

B. Black above and below C. clamosus, p. 182.

459. Cuculus gularis. South African Cuckoo.

Le Coucou vulgaire d'Afrique, Levaill. Ois. d'Afr. v, p. 20, pis. 20, 21

Cuculus gularis, Steph. Gen. Zool. ix, p. 83, pi. 17 (1815) ; Ayres, Ibis,

1859, p. 246 [Natal] ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 249 (1867) ; Gurney




in Anderason's B-. Damaraland, p. 228 (1872) ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1873,
p. 585; Buckley, Ibis, 1874, p. 366 [Bamangwato] ; Sharpe, ed.
Layard's B. S. Afr. pp. 148, 809 (1875, 84) ; Shelley, Ibis, 1882, p.
245 [Umfuli river]; i<l. Cat. B. M. xix, p. 244 (1891) ; id. B. Afr. i,
p. 123 (1896) ; Woodward Bros. Natal B. p. 115 (1899) ; Marshall,
Uiift, 1900, p. 252 [Salisbury].

FIG. 59. Cuculus gularis. x f^.

Description. Adult male. General colour above, slaty-grey, wing-
quills slightly darker with white bars on the inner webs ; outer tail-
feathers with about six complete white bars on the inner web, the
bars diminish towards the central pair of feathers which are spotted
with white along the shaft; throat, sides of the. face, neck and
upper breast pale grey, rest of the under surface and under wing-
coverts white with narrow black transverse bars.

Iris yellowish -brown ; bill, including the portion surrounding the

FIG. 60. Outer tail feather of Cuculus gularis (from Sharpe, P.Z.S., 1873).

nostrils, yellow, the terminal half of the upper and third of the lower
mandible brown ; legs and feet yellow.

Length about 12-75 ; wing 8'4 ; tail 6-3 ; culmen 0-85 ; tarsus 0-8.
The female apparently in some cases differs from the male in having
the lower throat and breast suffused with rufous-buff.


Mr. Marshall describes a young bird as having all the feathers
of the head and back broadly barred at their tips with greyish or
buffish-white and the sides of the face and entire throat barred like
the abdomen, except that the bars are closer ; there was also a
large nape spot of pure white, perhaps a sport.

Iris brown ; upper mandible including nostrils blackish, lower
mandible blackish at tip, the base yellow ; feet pale yellow.

Distribution. The South African Cuckoo is found in South
Africa only in the summer months from October to March ; it has
not been definitely recorded from Cape Colony and is rare in Natal,
but becomes commoner in the Transvaal, Bechuanaland, German
territory and Ehodesia. During the cold weather this Cuckoo
appears to be spread over the greater part of tropical Africa north of
the Zambesi. It has been obtained at Kavirondo, near Victoria
Nyanza, in March by Neumann, at Lado on the upper Nile in April
by Emin Pasha, in the Niam-Niam country in September by Bohn-
doff, and at Witu, in British east Africa in May, by Jackson.

The following are the South Africa localities : Natal near
Durban and Umfolosi valley (Woodward) ; Orange Eiver Colony
Modder river, near Bloemfontein, October (S. A. Mus.) ; Transvaal
Zand river in Lydenburg, November (Francis in S. A. Mus.) ;
Bechuanaland Meathly river near Bamangwato, in October
(Buckley), Kanye, January (Ayres) ; Ehodesia Umfuli river,
October (Ayres), near Salisbury in spring (Marshall) ; German
south-west Africa Gt. Namaqualand, Otjimbinque, March,
Ondonga, January (Andersson), Omaruru, February (Eriksson).

Habits. This cuckoo seems to be found about small bushes and
trees in the open country ; it is shy and restless, flying from one
tree to another with a rapid and somewhat zig-zag flight. The
note is somewhat like that of the European bird but can easily be
distinguished, as the two syllables "koo-koo " are on the same note.
Ayres states that they arrive in Mashonaland about the middle
of September and may sometimes be seen in threes and fours
chasing one another, in which case they are less shy and often come
within range. In consequence probably of their resemblance to a
hawk they are frequently mobbed by small birds. Levaillant is the
only author who has noticed anything in regard to their breeding
habits, he states that only one egg is deposited in the nest of a Jan
Fredrik (Cossypha caffra), Coryphee (Erythropygia coryphaeus) t
Fiscal (Lanius collaris),or Backakiri (Laniarius bakbakiri), and that
this is olive-grey dotted with red.


460. Cuculus canorus. European Cuckoo.

Cuculus canorus, Linn. Si/at. Nat. 12th ed. i, p. 168 (1766); Garnet/
in Anderssoris B. Dauiaraland, p. 227 (1872) ; Sharjje, cd. Layard's
B. S. Afr. pp. 147, 809 (1875-84); Barratt, Ibis, 1876, p. 199
[Potchefstroom] ; Ai/res, Ibis, 1877, p. 342, 1884, p. 228 ; Dresser, B.
Ear. v, p. 199, pi. 299 (1878) ; Slicllcij Cat. B. M. xix, p. 245 (1891) ;
id. B. AJr. i, p. 124 (1896) ; Alexander, Ibis, 1900, p. 108 [Zambesi];
Marshall, Ibis, 1900, p. 252 [Mashonaland].

Description. Adult male. Closely resembling C. gularis, being
distinguished by its black bill which is only yellow at the extreme
base, by its rather broader black transverse markings below, and by
the lesser amount of white on the tail ; on the outer pair of tail-
feathers there are no bars only spots along the shafts, and these on
the median pair of feathers are reduced to almost rudimentary

FIG. 61. Outer tail-feather of Cuculus canorus (from Sharpe, P.Z.S., 1873).

Iris and legs yellow ; bill bluish-black, except a very narrow
margin round the nostrils which is yellow.

Length about 13-25; wing 8-75; tail 7-25; culmen 0'75 ;
tarsus 0-95.

The female differs only from the male in having the throat
shaded with rufous. The young bird is dark brown above, the
feathers of the head and body are tipped with white and many of
them, including those of the wing and tail, barred with rufous;
below, the throat and upper breast are barred and somewhat suffused
with dark brown.

Distribution. The European Cuckoo is found throughout the
greater part of the Old World from Ireland to the northern portion
of Australia ; during the European summer it breeds in Europe,
northern Africa and Asia as far as the Himalayas, retreating south
in winter to southern Asia and Africa.

12 VOL. in.


As far as our present knowledge goes the European Cuckoo does
not occur in Cape Colony* nor is it common elsewhere, though Ayres
has obtained a good many specimens in the Transvaal. The follow-
ing are localities : Transvaal Potchefstroom, December and Janu-
ary (Barratt and Ayres), Lekkerkraal, Waterberg dist., January
(Pretoria Mus.) ; Rhodesia near Salisbury, January (Marshall) ;
German south-west Africa Otjimbinque, February, April, and On-
donga, December (Andersson) ; Portuguese east Africa Zambesi
valley, November, December (Alexander).

Habits. Little has been noted regarding the habits of the
European Cuckoo in South Africa. Ayres describes them as shy
and difficult to approach and of rapid flight, and that they were
generally to be found among the mimosas. As in Europe they
chiefly feed on hairy caterpillars.

South African specimens generally show marks of immaturity
and are probably in most cases birds of the year hatched in the
northern hemisphere during the previous spring.

461. Cuculus poliocephalus. Smaller Cuckoo.

Cuculus poliocephalus, Lath. Ind. Orn. i, p. 214 (1790) ; Shelley, Cat. B.
M. xix, p. 255 (1891) ; id. B. Afr. i, p. 124 (1896).

Description. Adult. Similar to C. canorus but much smaller,
with the lower plumage, and especially the lower tail-coverts, tinged
with buff and with broader black bars on the breast.

Iris brown ; bill blackish ; base of lower mandible yellow ; feet

Length about 10-0 ; wing 5-7 to 6*1 ; tail 4-9 to 5-4 ; tarsus 0'68.

Distribution. The Smaller Cuckoo appears to be an Eastern
race of the common Cuckoo ; it breeds throughout the Himalayas,
China and Japan, wintering in India ; it is also common in Mada-
gascar where it breeds, and occasionally occurs in Africa south of
6 N. lat. There is an example in the British Museum from
Durban, obtained by Gordge, the only record, so far as I am aware,
of its occurrence within pur limits.


462. Cuculus solitarius. Bed-chested Cuckoo.

Le Coucou solitaire, Levaill. Ois. d'Afr. v, p. 35, pi. 206 (1806).

Cuculus solitarius, Steph. Genl. Zool. ix, p. 84, pi. 18 (1815) ; Gurney, Ibis,
1860, p. 213 ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 248 (1867) ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1873,
p. 582 ; id. ed. Layard' s B. S. Afr. pp. 149, 809 (1875-84) ; Ayres, Ibis,
1876, p. 433 [Lydenburg] ; Butler, Feilden, and Eeid, Zool. 1882, p. 207

* The South African Museum has recently received an example from Mr.
Shortridge, shot at Port St. John's in Pondolond in March. '


[Newcastle]; Skelley, Cat. B. M. xix, p. 258 (1891); id. B. Afr. i,
p. 124 (1896) ; Woodward Bros. Natal B. p. 115 (1899) ; W. L.
Sdatcr, Ibis, 1899, p. 112 [Inhambane] ; Ivy, Ibis, 1901, p. 24.
Cuculus capensis (nee Mull.) Grill, K. Vet. Akad. Handl. ii, no. 10,

p. 41 (1858).

" Piet mijn vrouw " of Dutch; u Pezukomkono " of Zulus, both names
being formed from the note of the bird ; the former name is also applied to
Cossyplia bicolor.

Description. Adult male. Above, dark slate, lighter on the
head, darker on the tail ; wing-quills with white bars on the inner
webs ; central tail-feathers with four small spots along the shaft,
and the tip white, lateral feathers with spots along the edge of
the inner web as well ; below, the chin, throat and ear-coverts are
grey, with a sligbt tinge of rufous ; the lower throat and breast
are rich rufous, the rest of the lower surface, including the under
wing-coverts, pale buff strongly barred with black ; under tail-coverts
sometimes plain, sometimes barred.

Iris reddish-brown ; orbital skin lemon-yellow ; bill, upper man-
dible black, lower yellowish, black at tip ; legs and feet yellow.

Length 12-5 ; wing 6'75 ; tail 6-10 ; culmen O70 ; tarsus 0-75.

A female differs from the male in having the throat and breast
barred like the rest of the under surface, the whole faintly washed
with rufous, which, however, is darker on the sides of the lower
neck ; the dimensions are about the same.

A young bird differs markedly from the adult ; the upper surface
the throat and centre of the breast are black, most of the feathers
with white tips forming a slight freckling ; the wing-quills are
barred with rufous on both webs, and some of the spots on the
edges of the tail-feathers are also rufous.

Distribution. The Eed-chested Cuckoo is found throughout the
whole of the Ethiopian region from the Gold Coast and the upper
Nile Valley southwards. It is only in the southern summer during
the breeding season that it is found in South Africa ; during the
winter from March to September it apparently migrates to the
north of the equator, as it was found in the Bogos country between
the Blue Nile and the Sobat in May by Heuglin. So far as is yet
known it occurs only in the southern and eastern portions of South
Africa from Cape Town to Natal and Portuguese territory.

The following are localities : Cape Colony Cape div., Nov.,
Dec., Feb., George, Sept. (Atmore), Knysna, Dec. (Andersson inBt.
Mus.), Albany div. Nov. Dec. (Ivy), King William's Town (Bt.
Mus.) Port St. John's, Nov. Dec. (S. A. Mus.); Natal Ifafa


(Woodward), Durban, Oct., Feb. (Bt. Mus.), Newcastle, Sept.
(Butler) ; Transvaal Lydenburg dist. January (Ayres) ; Portuguese
east Africa Inhambane, Feb. (Francis). In Nyasaland and
German east Africa it also appears to be only found during the
summer months judging from the dates given.

Habits. This bird, in the neighbourhood of Cape Town, is
rather shy and seldom seen, as it usually perches well within the
luxuriant foliage of the oak trees. It is, however, very abundant,
and the loud and characteristic note, only used by the male, can be
heard at almost any time of the day till quite late in the evening.
It is impossible to express the cry in words, but it may be briefly
described as a clear shrill whistle of three distinct notes, each
separated by half a tone, following one another in quick succession.
In the suburbs of Cape Town it is first heard at the beginning of
October and continues till February.

Like other cuckoos these birds feed on insects and are especially
fond of caterpillars. A male obtained in Cape Town on November
14, 1884, was found to have its stomach full of the large hairy
caterpillars of a bombycine moth, Metanastina pithyocampa,

Levaillant states that this bird lays its eggs in the nest of the
Capokvogel (^githalus capensis), the Jan Fredrik (Cossypha cqffra),
the Reclameur (Cossypha bicolor), and the Coryphee (Erythropygia
coryphceus). This is confirmed by Ivy to a certain extent, who gives
an excellent account of the nesting habits of the bird in the neigh-
bourhood of Grahamstown as follows :

" In November, 1896, I found an egg of this Cuckoo in the nest
of a * Cape Robin ' (Cossypha caffra), together with two eggs of the
latter bird.

" In the same month I found a young Cuckoo of this species
in the nest of a Rock-Thrush (Monticola rupestris). The nest, which
was placed on a ledge of a krantz or cliff, had been extended on
either side with a packing of loose moss so as to prevent the young
Cuckoo from upsetting it. One broken egg of the Rock-Thrush
lay on the ground below the nest. We waited an hour for the
foster-parents, which had flown off on our first approach, to return,
but they did not do so, although an adult Cuckoo (C. solitarius)
flew past (fig. 62).

" In December, 1897, I saw a pair of Cape Robins (Cossypha
caffra) flying in attendance on a young Cuculus solitarius ; they
were much more demonstrative than is their usual habit with their
own young. The two flew before us for over a mile along a water-
cut, while the old Cuckoo kept calling out.





" On November 9, 1897, I found a nest of Cossypha caffra in
a neighbouring garden, containing two of the usual pinky-cream
eggs, one of which had been deposited only that morning. The
nest was only about six inches distant from another where, pre-
sumably, the same parents had hatched a brood in September. On
revisiting the nest the next day I found, in addition to the Eobin's
eggs, which were quite fresh, an egg of Cuculus solitarius, partly

"In December, 1898, I found another nest of Monticola rupes-
tris containing two eggs of the "Rock-Thrush and one of Cuculus

" In November, 1899, I found a single egg of Cuculus solitarius
in a nest of the South African Stone-Chat (Pratincola torquata),
situated in the wall of an old kraal close to Grahamstown ; there
were three eggs of the Stone-Chat in the nest."

- 0*A,,u^*-ik

463. Cuculus clamosus. Black Cuckoo.

Cuculus clamosus, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, Suppl. p. 30 (1801) ; Layard,
B. S. Afr. p. 249 (1867) ; Gurney in Andersson's B. Damar aland,
p. 226 (1872) ; Sharpe, P. Z. S., 1873, p. 587 ; Buckley, Ibis, 1874 ;
p. 367 [BamangwatoJ ; Sharpe, ed. Layard's B. 8. Afr. pp. 150, 809
(1875-84) ; Oates, Matabeleland, p. 305 (1881); Shelley, Cat. B. M.
xix, p. 260 (1891) ; Fleck, Journ-. Ornith. 1894, p. 396 [Gt. Narna-
qualand] ; Shelley, B. Afr. i, p. 124 (1896) ; Woodward Bros, and
Sharpe, Ibis, 1897, pp. 410, 499 [Zululand] ; Woodward Bros. Natal
B. p. 116 (1899) ; Alexander, Ibis, 1900, p. 109 [Zambesi Valley] ;
Ivy, Ibis, 1901, p. 26 [Albany Dist.] .

Le Coucou criard, Levaill. Ois. d'Afr. v, p. 28, pis. 204-5 (1806).

Cuculus nigricans, Swains. Zool. III. (2) i, pi. 7 (1829) ; Gurney, Ibis,
1859, p. 246 [Natal] .

Description. Adult male. Above and below, black glossed with
dark green ; quills brown with white barring and freckling on the
inner web ; tail-feathers narrowly tipped with white, under tail-
coverts with white or rufous tips ; edge of the wing mottled black
and white, under wing-coverts black.

Iris dark brown ; bill black ; legs and feet black.

Length 12-75; wing6'90; tail 6-30; culmen 0-90; tarsus 0-75.

The female resembles the male. An immature bird has traces
of rufous barring on the lower surface.

Another young bird is described by Shelley as having the entire
throat and crop whitish-brown, shaded with rufous and barred with


black, while the rest ,of the lower surface including the under wing-
coverts is white evenly barred with black.

Distribution. The Black Cuckoo is spread over Africa from tho
Gold Coast and from Abyssinia southward to Cape Colony. In the
south and in the south-east, so far as is known, it is found only
during the summer months from October to March, when it breeds.
During the rest of the year, it apparently migrates to the west
and north-east, as it has been obtained on the Gold Coast in April
and May, in equatorial Africa in August, and in Abyssinia by
Heuglin in August and September.

Within our limits it is abundant in the eastern portion of the
Colony, but is not apparently found to the westward of the Albany
division ; thence it extends through Natal, Zululand and the Trans-
vaal to German south-west Africa and the Zambesi. The follow-
ing are recorded localities : Cape Colony Great Fish, Sunday and
Zwartkop rivers (where it was first found by Levaillant), Albany
div. Dec. (Ivy), Elandspost (Atmore), King William's Town (Brit.
Mus.), Port St. John's, Dec. (S. A. Mus.); Natal Durban and
Newcastle (Brit. Mus.), Echowe (Woodward) ; Transvaal Zand
river, Nov., Komatipoort, Sept., both in Lydenburg dist. (Francis
in S. A. Mus.), Potchefstroom, Jan. (Ayres in S. A. Mus.), Eusten-
burg district, Nov. (Gates) ; Bechuanaland Bamangwato, Nov.
(Buckley), Lake Ngami dist. (Andersson) ; German south-west
Africa Eehoboth, Feb., Dec. (Fleck), Otjimbinque, Dec. (Anders-
son), Omaruru, Dec. (Eriksson in S. A. Mus.), Elephant Vley,
Oct., Nov. (Andersson).

Habits. This bird derives its name (" le criard " of Levaillant)
from its loud three-syllabled note, to which the male gives vent all
day long and most of the night from the topmost branch of a
lofty tree ; it is very shy and wary and if disturbed will dart away
very swiftly into a neighbouring thicket. When two birds meet
however they greet one another with a peculiar chattering not
unlike that of the red-billed Hoopoe. Like other cuckoos its food
consists chiefly of caterpillars. Levaillant states that the Black
Cuckoo places its eggs in the nest of the Wren warblers (Prinia
maculosa and P. hypoxantha). As the nest of this bird is very

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