letting nature back in

at home and further afield


African Emerald Cuckoo

African Emerald Cuckoo feasts on hairy caterpillars

The Processionary Caterpillars are out in full force again this autumn, providing easy pickings for this female African Emerald Cuckoo. Continue reading “African Emerald Cuckoo feasts on hairy caterpillars”

The cuckoo has landed

Not all cuckoos are brood parasites, but the cuckoos in our area all lay eggs in the nests of other birds and leave the hosts to raise the young. The female cuckoo surreptitiously approaches a host nest and rapidly lays a single egg and also removes another egg from the nest. She will lay 4 to 5 eggs on successive or alternate days in different nests, and most will lay about 20 eggs in total over one breeding season. Continue reading “The cuckoo has landed”

The perfect host: Processionary caterpillars in our suburban garden: Part 2

Perfect hosts are hard to find. Processionary caterpillars only accept hospitality from a handful of host plants. One of these is the Cross-berry, which the caterpillars return to each year, in our suburban garden. In turn, the perfect host also accommodates the predatory birds and insects that are attracted to the caterpillars, including the iridescent male African Emerald Cuckoo pictured above. Continue reading “The perfect host: Processionary caterpillars in our suburban garden: Part 2”

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