Today is International Cuckoo Day, and we are here to celebrate with our guira cuckoos!
Guira cuckoos are native to South America and are often seen in open habitats, such as prairies and wetlands. They live in small flocks of up to 20 individuals. They are efficient hunters and will eat almost anything they can catch. In the wild, guira cuckoos will prey upon worms, insects, frogs, lizards, mice, and even smaller birds!
Some cuckoo species are brood parasites. This means they lay their eggs in the nest of another species and provide no parental care to their own offspring. Guira cuckoos, on the other hand, are great parents. They do not form male-female pairs like many other birds do; rather, multiple females in a flock will lay eggs together in a single nest. All of the adults in the group then take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young chicks.
Guira cuckoos make a variety of different calls and are probably the most vocal birds in the aviary. Vocalizations may include yodels, guttural calls, gargled trills, and whistles.
At the Houston Zoo, you can see our guira cuckoo flock in the Waterbird Aviary in our South America’s Pantanal exhibit. Our flock includes 8 birds, with one adult male, three adult females, and four juveniles.