By: Blonde Two
The Two Blondes have been travelling over the last few weeks and have covered some miles and had some adventures between them. The Dartmoor Cuckoos have been having their own and much more impressive adventures. It would appear, though, that sadly Dart the Dartmoor Cuckoo, despite covering enough miles to get to Mallorca, didn’t make it to Africa and has come to the end of his travelling days. The British Trust for Ornithology announced that Dart was missing, presumed deceased on August 21st. Two other Dartmoor cuckoos are still active – Whortle has made it to Africa and is in Mali and Tor is in Nigeria. This means that between them, they have travelled a lot of miles. Maybe not quite as many as the Two Blondes but in a much more impressive way.
It occurred to me, while I was in New Zealand to find out if they have cuckoos there too. There are many, exotic sounding native birds there – Tui, Riro Riro, Pukeko to name some of my favourites but there are also some of our UK familiars (although like many things Kiwi, they are just a little bit different) – there are swallows (bigger with redder tummies), Robins (with no red on their tummies) and magpies (huge, loud and scary). One New Zealand bird that I have never seen or heard though, is their own cuckoo.
There are two types of New Zealand cuckoo (seems wrong to call it a kiwi cuckoo) – shining cuckoos (pipiwharauroa) and long tailed cuckoos (koekoea). They behave in much the same way as our cuckoos but, very sensibly, instead of flying south (that would be very cold as the next land is Antarctica) fly north to the Pacific islands. They don’t come back to New Zealand until late September which is why I never hear them. Even if I was there at the right time, I might not recognise their calls as cuckoos – they both sound very different and neither is like our distinctive bird in sound although they are just as good at nest invasion.
Have a look here if you want to find out more … http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/small-forest-birds/page-9