Verification of Unusual
Rec. # 2007-11
|Scientific name:||Coccyzus erythropthalmus|
|Length of time observed:||2 seconds|
|Location:||Capitol Reef National Park along the Fremont River Trail|
|Distance to bird:||7 feet|
|Optical equipment:||none seen with naked eye|
|Weather:||Clear Skies and warm|
|Light Conditions:||Bright morning light, with the sun at my back|
|Description: Size of bird:||Long and slender, dove sized but not plump like a dove|
|(Description:) Basic Shape:||Extremely thin with long tail and pointed wings|
|(Description:) Overall Pattern:||Dull. White and gray-brown|
|(Description:) Bill Type:||not seen (what a paradox)|
Field Marks and
I turned around to see a cuckoo flying across a 10 foot gap in the trail I was
conducting a riparian bird survey along. The bird stuck out as a cuckoo due to
the long slender shape of the bird, and the long pointed wings. Upon seeing the
bird flap twice I noticed there was no rufous in the under wings or the
outerwings; no rufous in the primaries and secondaries as one would expect with
the more common Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
The underside of the wings appeared to be the same color as the belly, with a dark trailing edge.
The entire underside of the bird was a creamy white color, from throat to undertail coverts. The bird was at about eye level, so the pattern of the under side of the tail was not seen, but the tail appeared to be a dark gray throughout.
The back and outerside of the wings appeared to be grayish-brown throughout, giving it a rather drab look, with no real distinguishing color marks.
The view was so brief that I was unable to see the bill to make sure that it was black, but based off all the other characteristics it seemed impossible for the bird to be a Yellow-billed.
|Song or call & method of delivery:||none|
|Behavior:||Short flight from one feeding area to another.|
Riparian corridor. Tall cottonwoods, with a thick understory of willow, russian
olive, and another shrub I am not familiar with. The bird flew from the river
which had about a 10 feet width of
understory on the south edge to a patch that was about 60 feet long and 30 feet wide that was extremely thick.
There were numerous tent caterpillar "nests" in the surrounding cottonwoods.
were they eliminated:
Yellow-billed Cuckoo is the only other species found in this part of the country
that has a similar body shape and plumage. However, Yellow-billed Cuckoo in
flight shows large amounts of rufous coloring in the primaries and secondaries
on the outer wing as well as the under wing. The tail of the Yellow-billed is
also quite patterned on top and below, and would likely of flashed white and
black in the light. Yellow-billed is also white as snow underneath, and in the
great morning light that would have stood out, as opposed to the more
creamy-white color seen.
Based off the lack of rufous, only Black-billed Cuckoo would be possible.
this & similar species:
Have seen both species before, including about a dozen sightings of
Yellow-billed in Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana. Have heard Black-billed Cuckoo in
Colorado, and saw 2 in basically the
same manner as this bird in Indiana last June.
|References consulted:||Sibley Guide to birds and several websites upon returning to Salt Lake.|
|Description from:||Notes taken at time of sighting|
|Observer's address:||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Observer's e-mail address:||firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Other observers who independently identified this bird:||none|
|Additional comments:||I could draw what I saw, but I don't believe it would help anymore than the notes above. I spent another 70 minutes looking for the bird but was unable to find it again, which was rather frustrating.|