BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Saturday, March 15, 2014

X-rated: Great Lizard Cuckoos mating

The Great Lizard Cuckoo is the largest Lizard Cuckoo, and one of the largest cuckoos. It is found only on Cuba, and 3 islands of the Bahamas: Eleuthera, Andros and New Providence (where the capital Nassau is located). It is nearly 2 feet in length, and has a long barred tail. It does not fly very much preferring to hop from branch to branch or run along the ground. It is not very shy and is seen fairly often at Calypso, though it seems to be rare elsewhere on the island. It has a strong personality, and seems sometimes to converse with humans, making a deep Ka-Ka-Ka-Ka-Ka sound.
This morning I observed one holding a lizard in its mouth. I started filming. You can see what happened on the video. Basically the male offers the lizard to the female but only on condition she mates with him. Indeed he does not let go of the lizard until what that rat Ken Starr described as "completion". He grips not only the lizard, but also the bill of the female. After transferring the lizard, and a short wait, the female swallows the gift (i.e. the hapless lizard).  I have read that food offerings (e.g. insects) are often part of cuckoo courtship, and also bill-holding, but I've not seen a description of a GLC doing this. I suspect this is the first ever video of a GLC mating, since they are rare outside of Cuba.

1 comment:

  1. Wish it were that easy for humans, it's a little more complicated for us.