Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Odd Pair

Would you ever think these two birds related? They are! They are both Cuculids. Such different lifestyles: so different looking, but still of the same family.

Birds of the same family are typically easy to categorize. After all, a Carolina Wren looks like a Bewick’s Wren looks like a Marsh Wren. Similarly, a Carolina Chickadee looks like a Black Capped looks like a Chestnut Back Chickadee. Similarly, the Jays resemble each other. However, there is no such similarity between the cuckoo and the roadrunner.

All wrens tend to be insectivorous. Chickadees eat mainly insects, are fond of spider eggs but will eat sunflower seeds. Yet, when it comes to cuculids, the Yellow Billed Cuckoo enjoys a meal of caterpillars, and the Greater Roadrunner likes to dine on small lizards and snakes.

Further, if you want to see a cuckoo you would want to be looking up and generally in dense foliage. But the roadrunner is a ground dweller, flying only when absolutely necessary.

And if you want to be further thrown for a loop, consider the Anis. It, too, is a cuculid.

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