Rare bird: Mangrove cuckoo

An encore, 15 years later

Mangrove cuckoo 3 350x
All pictures by Michelle Pors-da Costa Gomez.

In the fall of 2004 Leon and I encountered a very interesting bird in the mangroves in the saliña of Daaibooi. It was only later that we realized we had a look at a not so frequent visitor to our island, the Mangrove cuckoo. Before we could get back to try to take a picture, a colleague at the then scientific organization we worked at, came in with a box. All exited to contribute to the genetic research of this species, the bird we think we saw, was collected as a specimen (dead) to be send to the US for further research, and was laying in the box. You can imagine our reaction.

Mangrove cuckoo 350xIn the past couple of years some specimens of Mangrove Cuckoos were observed (alive and stayed alive) on Curacao, but the bird, different from the more numerous Yellow-billed Cuckoo, was always an enigma to our camera lenses. Until Saturday December 21st 2019, during the Bird Watching Cross Island Trip where we had an astonishing encounter with this marvellous species.

So not a lifer for the island and maybe not exactly a lifer for us personally but in the end I do consider it a very special moment to encounter the species again 15 years later.

Mangrove Cuckoo

Mangrove cuckoos are special in the sense that the species occurs mainly in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. And although the name indicates differently they also do occur in wooded areas with (low) shrubs and not only in mangrove areas. Outside of the breeding season it is normally silent. The birds eat Mangrove cuckoo 2 350xinsects and was observed on Curacao in a variety of trees and shrubs which attract a lot of butterflies and serve as host plants to butterfly caterpillars. The Lignum vitae is a tree species we have often observed it in.

December 21 2019

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