29 Aug 2015

Nick Davies' cuckoos

From This Way Up, 1:10 pm on 29 August 2015
Nick Davies.

Nick Davies. Photo: Supplied.

The cuckoos, both shining and long-tailed, are about to arrive in New Zealand after their annual holiday in the Pacific.

But as well as being the harbinger of spring, the cuckoo is also one the most deceitful animals on the planet!

Many species of cuckoo parasitise a host species by mimicking their eggs, killing their young, and then demanding to be fed before leaving the nest. So how does it get away with it?

The English naturalist Nick Davies has been watching the cuckoo for over 30 years and his book Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature is published by Bloomsbury.

Cuckoo egg (right) in a reed warbler nest.

Cuckoo egg (right) in a reed warbler nest. Photo: Nick Davies.