They arrive here every spring, breed and lay one big fat egg into the nest of the tiny grey warbler which has already raised a brood of its own offspring by then. The warbler nest is like a hanging basket with a door too small for a cuckoo to fit through so its still a mystery how it gets its egg into the nest. Somehow it manages to then it just buggers off to leave the warbler to raise the monster child which grows to twice the size of its adopted parents. I wonder then how the cuckoo grows up knowing its a cuckoo and not a warbler, you'd suspect a bit of an identity crisis after all that. The Kowhai Moth caterpillar is one of the favourite foods of the cuckoo. Its interesting to watch them feed. The cuckoo grabs a caterpillar and whacks it on the nearest branch, it munches on it some then whacks it some more to tenderise it. When the caterpillars guts have turned to mush the cuckoo then sucks it dry and often discards the skin or swallows whats left. Within a week the population of caterpillars has been decimated and I've seen up to three cuckoos feeding at once in our one kowhai tree! Obviously the tree won't be sprayed in the future - we will be protecting this valuable food source for these guys who will be leaving to go back to the Solomons around the end of this month.
Fat and fit on a diet of juicy caterpillars, I hope they leave it a week or two before they go as I just see cyclone Thomas is doing its worst in that region of the pacific. Its a long way for a little bird to fly without having a cyclone to contend with.