Golden-bellied Gerygone and Little Bronze Cuckoo chick

posted in: Feeding chicks, Interspecific | 0

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A pair of adult Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea) were spotted frantically feeding the chick of the Little Bronze Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx minutillus) in fig tree in a park in early August 2007. The adult gerygone is a smallish bird about 10 cm long while the cuckoo is 16 cm long. Or that is what the guidebooks say. However, the images captured of the feeding pair show the cuckoo chick to be nearly twice as large as the gerygone adult (left and below left).

The gerygone, being small, can only catch small insects. The chick, being large, was not easily satisfied by the number of small insects fed to it. The result? The foster parents had to work frantically like feeding machines to appease the hungry and noisy chick. And this went on for days on end.

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And there was an adult cuckoo in the vicinity. Was it keeping an eye on its chick? To ensure that the foster parents were taking good care of its biological chick? Food for thought eh?

There was only one cuckoo chick (above right). I suppose the small nest of the gerygone cannot handle more than one large chick. And to be left with two large cuckoo chicks to feed will be too much for the adopted parents.

The Little Bronze Cuckoo is a brood parasite, laying its egg in the nest of the Golden-bellied Gerygone. Once the cuckoo’s egg hatches, the chick will eject the eggs of the host.

Images by Daniel (top) and Eddie (bottom).

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