As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday 21 July 2016

All the way from Africa

Updated: July 17, 2016 05:52 IST

Pied cuckoo or Jacobin cuckoo that migrates to India all the way from Africa, and described as the harbinger of monsoon in Indian mythology, was spotted in the jungles near Bidar recently, and photographed by a wildlife enthusiast.

Sainath Sharma, photographer and bird conservation enthusiast, said that pied cuckoo has rarely been studied and photographed in these parts.

This was corroborated by H.S. Patil, former professor of zoology, who has documented birds in Bidar. “It is amazing that these birds can travel up to 5,500 km, from Africa to India. They come here for mating and nesting and they begin their journey months before monsoon arrives in India,” he said.

Mr. Patil said though pied cuckoos have been visiting Khanapur, Shahpur, and Chitta forests around Bidar, there have been few attempts to get them photographically documented.
Mr. Sharma said the bird figures in ‘puranas’ and ancient Indian literature. “Legendary Sanskrit poet Kalidasa has used the bird, called Jataka bird, as a metaphor for patience and purity,” he said.

In Indian mythology, it is a bird that waits through summer for the seasons to change, only to open its mouth to the skies to drink rain water directly.

Mr. Patil said it braves rough winds and changes in temperature before settling in flat areas like the Deccan plateau. “It stays here for months before starting its journey back,” he said.

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