In Central America, there is only room for one individual who is so visually arresting in his red and brown costume with the long and graceful tail serving as the perfect finishing touch.
MEET THE SQUIRREL CUCKOO
The Piaya cayana, often known as the squirrel cuckoo, is a large and active species of cuckoo that has an unusually long tail that can measure between 40.5 and 50 centimeters (15.9 to 19.7 inches) in length and weighs between 95 and 120 grams (3.4 to 4.2 ounces). The upperparts and head of adult birds are mostly a dark chestnut color, while the throat is paler and nearly pink in appearance.
The lower breast is gray, the belly is almost completely black, and the core feathers of the tail are a rufous color while the outer feathers have white tips. The beak is orange, and the eyes are blood-red.
The bill and eyering of juvenile birds are gray, and their irises are brown. Their tails have less white in them.
It is comparable to the Black-bellied Cuckoo, however it can be identified from that species by its yellow beak and its cap that is the same color as the back.
The range of these birds extends from the northwest corner of Mexico all the way to northern Argentina, Uruguay, and Trinidad.
Squirrel Cuckoos favor living in wooded areas and forests, typically in the upper canopies of trees or around the edges of woods. In arid locations, it is also found in residential neighborhoods, as well as areas with coffee plantations, shrubs, pastures with trees, areas along watercourses, and other types of vegetation. Avoiding dry woodland places.
The majority of the Squirrel Cuckoo’s diet consists of insects, such as cicadas, wasps, and caterpillars; however, they will occasionally consume spiders and small lizards. Consuming fruit only on rare occasions.
During the breeding season, a nest resembling a shallow cup made of sticks and leaves is constructed in the dense foliage or trees of the dancing foliage. The female may lay up to three eggs within, which are then incubated by both the male and the female for approximately 18 to 20 days. Both males and females contribute food and care to the developing chicks.
The squirrel cuckoo is common over the most of its range and appears to be relatively unfazed by the presence of humans, provided that forests are allowed to continue to exist.