Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bird making a booming call - the Crow Pheasant!


When I was a child, elders told me to listen to the sounds coming out from a nearby grove and alerted me about it like this: 'it is the sound given by a snake (cobra) as it is now incubating its eggs; don't enter into the grove' For many years I was made timid by this sound as my peers were also done so - until I found out myself that it is not a snake making that sound but a bird! Yes, it is the C
row Pheasant (Southern Coucal, Centropus parroti, 'Sembotthu' in Tamil).
It is a crow-like bird; but is a weak flier. It is seen mostly in open lands walking and flying low to safety on small trees, when seen by intruders.

Its peculiar booming and repeated call is like this: 'kkhouwk khouk khouk khouk khouk khowk.' Its wings are chestnut brown; body is black. Eyes are ruby red in colour. It feeds on insects, birds' eggs, snails and sometimes snakes. It also eats fruits - I have seen it eating guava fruits. The female bird is slightly larger than the male. They breed here in Tamil Nadu after monsoon; lay about five eggs that hatch in 15 days. The young ones are dull black in colour and have spots and bars on their body.
It is a wonder bird that reminds us about its presence near us with its calls - saying that it is not a snake!


1 comment:

ALLEY said...

I have a new visitor in my garden !!! I was too excited after hearing it's voice .

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