A Dead Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

Ramki Sreenivasan

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Another rare creature hits the dust. Speeding vehicles don't just affect mammals, but also birds that may be slow to get out of the way, like this chestnut-winged cuckoo.

This dead Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was found (probably hit by a speeding vehicle) by the photographer just outside the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary (also known as the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) in Ernakulam district on the northern bank of the Periyar river. A very unfortunate sight given that the bird has become a rarity in India.

Though seldom seen in the country nowadays, Birdlife International does not treat it as vulnerable due on its wide distribution and its relatively stable status in SE Asia. This cuckoo can be found from the Western Himalayas stretching to the Eastern Hills, as well as Southeast Asia. It migrates down south along the Eastern Ghats and was once common in Point Calimere as well as Chennai. Small populations are said to occur in the Western Ghats as well.

Interestingly, Mathurin-Jacques Brisson, (1723-1806), a French zoologist, originally described the bird as “Le coucou hupé de Coromandel” as a specimen was collected on the Coromandel coast, near the French colony of Pondicherry, hence the name Clamator coromandus for the species.

About the author

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Delhi-based Bikram Grewal has authored various best-selling guides to Indian birds and wildlife. He is a publisher by profession, loves to travel, and lives the dream that he will rediscover the now extinct Mountain Quail.



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