T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Cuckoo (Shining) Chrysococcyx lucidus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Genus: Chrysococcyx
Species: C. lucidus
Scientific name: Chrysococcyx lucidus
Common names: Shining cuckoo, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Golden Bronze Cuckoo, Golden Bronze-Cuckoo, Golden-bronze Cuckoo, Shining Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Pipiwharauroa

Chrysococcyx lucidus is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family. It is one of only two terrestrial birds that migrate beyond New Zealand. They are common and widespread throughout New Zealand from about October to February. They winter over in the Solomon Islands and the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago returning to New Zealand and Chatham Is in September. It is most southerly ranging brood parasitic bird species in the world, extending to 45°S in New Zealand. It is also the world’s smallest cuckoo, being only 15 to 17 centimetres in length,

The male has metallic golden or coppery green upperparts and white cheeks and underparts barred with dark green. The female is similar with a more purplish sheen to the crown and nape and bronzer-tinged barring on the belly. The bill is black and the feet are black with yellow undersides. The tail is short.

Chrysococcyx lucidus parasitises chiefly the dome-shaped nests of various Gerygone species (warblers). From mid-October, the shining cuckoo lays a single egg in the nest of a grey warbler, the usual host species. It will sometimes it will remove a host egg. The cuckoo’s egg is larger and is a different colour, an olive green. The egg hatches in approximately 15 days and when a few days old the chick evicts the other grey warbler eggs and any chicks. The chick fledges at about 19 days and continues to be fed by both grey warblers for at least 4 weeks. 

The diet of cuckoos is interesting because they eat the warningly-coloured, hairy, partly toxic caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly and other insects that most birds avoid. As for other foods they take flies, gnats, fruit-slugs, moths and butterflies.

Despite this apparently easy existence their numbers appear to be falling – probably because of deforestation on their winter islands in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands.

   The call of the Shining cuckoo

This is a juvenile bird, so has recently left the nest. Shining cuckoos target grey warblers to lay their eggs... even though they are about twice the size and the grey warblers continue to feed it after it leaves the nest.

The three photos below are of deceased bird that died when it flew into a window,
I have added them to show the plumage colours



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information     https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/