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Medium-sized Central TX bird that goes "bowh, bowh, bowh". (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United States
I heard this bird yesterday at a local park. There's a large pond, a stretch of forest, and a few acres of restored prairie habitat. I briefly saw a medium-sized bird with a short tail moving about in the top of a large pecan tree, and the call changed locations when the bird did. I couldn't really make out anything about color. Just that it was, I would guess, about the size of a robin, and that it seemed to have very short tail feathers. It was calling repetitively and frequently, pausing briefly now and then, and I didn't hear any variation in its call. Its voice carried pretty far, I heard it from well across part of the park.

This should link to a few seconds of its call. You might have to turn the sound up- the tree was pretty tall, so the bird wasn't exactly close to me. Don't wear headphones, the wind noise is loud. It's an unusual call, not the more generic tweeting in the first second. I was a bit surprised it looked like a typical passerine shape, I was expecting something like maybe a heron.

Does anyone have any ideas what this is? If you've got a suggestion, I can go look up what it sounds like and see if that's right.


Speak softly and carry a long lens
Aside from the wind and the crickets and a more typical songbird noise (piercingly high-pitched and fairly rapid whistling; about five notes in the first second), there's a faint hooting or cooing that comes in pairs, which must be what you're asking about. It reminds me more of a pigeon than a heron, but I don't know what it is.


It's just a flesh wound.
United States
I uploaded the audio to BirdNET. Their analysis is also Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Their confidence is not high though, just 12%, with the next most likely being Tundra Swan at 8%.

It obviously was not a Tundra Swan. I am 95% on Yellow-billed Cuckoo.


Well-known member
United States
Yellow-billed Cuckoo it is! Thanks all. The second song on this page is exactly right. So if anyone who couldn't hear it well in the clip would like to know what I was hearing, it was this. Yellow-billed Cuckoo Sounds, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

I thought heron at first because, from a distance, that odd quality stood out more. I've never heard a heron in person, but I know they have weird, deep voices, and "heron" seemed reasonable for a strange-sounding bird near water. Then I thought maybe dove when I got a bit closer, but standing under the tree, it didn't sound like any dove I've ever heard. They're... for lack of a better word, smoother. Their calls swell and roll. This one almost sounded like it was shouting through a tube, with a good bit of effort to it.

Sorry about the sound quality, everything I record on this camera is full of wind noise and this guy was pretty far off the ground.

The only odd bit is the short tail on the bird I saw. Cuckoo fits everything else, and it did hop the way I've seen cuckoos move. I guess it recently had a run-in with a cat or something else, because there was definitely not a cuckoo tail on what I saw.

I uploaded the audio to BirdNET. Their analysis is also Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Their confidence is not high though, just 12%, with the next most likely being Tundra Swan at 8%.
That's a neat website. I'll have to use it in the future.
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