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Great Spotted cuckoo?

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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 12:06   #1
gerald762
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Great Spotted cuckoo?

When I first saw this bird I was amazed by the length of it's tail. Eventually I got some poor pictures, and after various tweaks I think I can identify it. Am I right? Thanks in advance. The photos, of the same bird, taken today near Barbate , Andalucia, Spain. The Pratincoles nesting nearby were not pleased to see it!
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 12:26   #2
John Cantelo
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Yes, Great Spotted Cuckoo.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 12:40   #3
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Thanks John, that is a first for me.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 15:50   #4
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is that possibly a migrant heading back to Africa? I don't think they hang about in the southern part of Spain - no Magpies to parasitise.

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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 15:58   #5
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is that possibly a migrant heading back to Africa? I don't think they hang about in the southern part of Spain - no Magpies to parasitise.

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Most do pass through the area it's true but in the last few decades Common Magpies have increased enormously in that area although still not widespread. They've gone from being restricted to the mouth of the Guadalquivir to being fairly common around Cadiz Bay so I'd imagine Great Spotted Cuckoo may follow suit ...
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 16:11   #6
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I don't see many magpies around but they are more common the further North you go. Do they use the nests of Azure winged magpies as well? There are plenty of those in Huelva province.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 16:13   #7
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I've been informed they are now 'Iberian Magpies' split from the far-eastern Azure-winged. But I don't know the answer to your query. Sorry.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 16:20   #8
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Originally Posted by gerald762 View Post
I don't see many magpies around but they are more common the further North you go. Do they use the nests of Azure winged magpies as well? There are plenty of those in Huelva province.
From BWP, mainly [Eurasian] Magpies, but also Raven, Carrion Crow, Iberian Magpie, Jay all known to be used
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 16:28   #9
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What is BWP?
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 17:32   #10
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What is BWP?
Birds of the Western Palearctic ... major ornithological work.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 17:56   #11
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Thank you.
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Old Saturday 13th June 2020, 18:25   #12
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From BWP, mainly [Eurasian] Magpies, but also Raven, Carrion Crow, Iberian Magpie, Jay all known to be used
In Iberia Jackdaw and Red-billed Chough are occasional host species (together with Carrion Crown and Raven); Iberian Magpie is an exceptional host at best.
June is the month during which adults migrate to Africa (juvs. stick around for a bit longer, normally until September), so it's more than likely that this bird is a southbound migrant.

EDIT: adding to the above, there is another possibility. I can't determine correctly the age of this bird from these photos, but it can be a 2nd. cal year bird. If that is the case then it's not tied to the same "migration dates" as adults, and it might stay for longer in places where breeding does not take place, just prospecting for a future nesting area and gorging on fat hairy caterpillars...

Last edited by RafaelMatias : Saturday 13th June 2020 at 18:49.
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