1105. Cuculus saturatus.
The Himalayan Cuckoo.
Cuculus saturatus, Hodgson, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 942 (1843); xv, p. 18; Blanf. P. Z. S. 1893, p. 319. Cuculus himalayanus, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 71; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 704; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 323 ; id. Ibis, 1872, p. 12 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 50; Marshall, His, 1884, p. 410 ; nec Vigors. Cuculus striatus, apud Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 359 ; Bulger, Ibis, 1869, p. 157 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 190; iv, p. 288; xi, p. 70; id. Cat. no. 200; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 79; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 166; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 254; Davison, S. F. x, p. 359; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 105; id. Ibis, 1889, p. 356; nec Drapiez. Cuculus intermedius, apud Shelley, Cat. B. M. xix, p. 252; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 381; nec Vahl.
Tong-ting vyang, Lepcha.
When adult similar to C. canorus, except that the upper parts are much darker, pure blackish ashy; the lower parts are generally pale buff with the black bands broader and more regular, and the edge of the wing is pure white. The size is always smaller and the bill a little stronger. The young pass through two stages, in neither of which is there a white nuchal spot.
In the first stage the upper plumage is blackish brown, the feathers margined with white; chin and throat almost entirely black; rest of the lower parts white, broadly banded with black. In the second stage the whole upper plumage with the tail is blackish barred with chestnut, the lower banded white and black, throat and breast tinged with rufous. The transition from each stage to the next is gradual, and every intermediate plumage may be found.
Upper mandible and tip of lower horny green, rest of lower yellowish horny; iris, feet, and gape yellow. Young birds have the iris brown.
Length about 12; tail 6; wing 6.6 to 7.8; tarsus .75; bill from gape 1.15.
Distribution. During the breeding-season this Cuckoo is found in various parts of Eastern Asia, from the Himalayas to Siberia. It has also been shot in the cold season at Lucknow and Jodhpur, and in May in Eatehgarh, but is rare in India south of the Himalayas *. It is more common in Burma, the Andamans and Nicobars, and throughout the Malay Peninsula, ranging to New Guinea and Australia.
Habits, &c. The ordinary call of this bird in the breeding season, which begins later than that of C. canorus, is of four syllables, and, according to Jerdon, resembles that of the Hoopoe repeated, hoot-hoot-hoot-hoot, with a higher note at the commencement, only heard when the bird is very near. Hume (S. E. xi, p. 70) gives a somewhat different account, but Jerdon's statement has been confirmed by other observers. According to Swinhoe's observations in Formosa and Seebohm's in Siberia, C. saturatus also utters a monosyllabic note, but this has not been noticed in India. The breeding-season is in June, and the eggs, in the Himalaya, are commonly laid in the nest of Trochalopterum lineatum. An egg taken from a female shot in Kashmir is white, sparsely speckled with olive-brown and purplish grey, and measures .89 by .6. According to Captain Hutton, the young Cuckoo, after it leaves the nest, is fed by the adults, he having shot one of the latter in the act.