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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cuckoo chick, day 19

Cuckoo chick, near Brosna, 9th July 2013 (Davey Farrar).

Day 19 and the Cuckoo chick is on the verge of fledging. By now the Cuckoo is several times larger than the 'parents'. Typical weights of Meadow Pipits are 15-22 grammes, while a full-grown Cuckoo chick weighs in at a hefty 95-140 grammes. The unwitting Meadow Pipit foster parents are making feeding trips to the chick every ten minutes or so throughout the day.

The puffed-up plumage and sudden opening of the mouth in the video are defensive tactics, giving any potential predator the impression of a much larger and more aggressive beast.