The Crazy Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Are  Yellow-billed Cuckoos (Coccyzus americanus), really crazy?  I don’t think there has been any scientific evidence to that.  When I was a kid, I would hear things like, “Bob, you’re crazy as a cuckoo”, or “Bob, have you gone cuckoo?”.  Perhaps I was, but that is not what this post is about.  We are talking about a bird.

I haven’t posted anything in several days.  It was simply because I have been busy, getting my book published, (more on that later), looking for photo ops, getting a little nap time in, etc.  Ann suggested this morning that it was time that I wrote something.  So I got off of Facebook, put my crossword puzzle aside, and started trying to decide what to write about.    I settled on throwing virtual darts at my files.  Aha!!  A hit, right on the Yellow-billed Cuckoo file.

This bird has a yellow bill, (duhhh), a distinctive white breast, and has an upright posture when perching on a branch.  It spends the summer in mostly eastern and central United states.  Would you believe it is a close relative of the Great Roadrunner.  Now there is one crazy bird.  This first picture was taken way back in June of 2007.  It was the first YBC I had ever seen.  I was using a Canon EOS 20D then with a 100-400mm lens.  Exposure 1/2500 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 200.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

The following two images were taken in May of 2010.  I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4 tele-converter attached.  Exposure 1/800 sec. @ f5.6, ISO 500 for both photos.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

I hope you enjoyed the photos.  Click on either of them to see some great enlargements.  You can see more of my collection by clicking the Flickr Logo on the right side of this page.

Also check out my recently published book, “BIRDS, BEASTS, AND BUTTES”  You can preview the first 15 pages at or by clicking on the link on the right side of this page.  Hint:  You can also buy it there if you like.

For autographed copies contact me direct at e-mail:

26 thoughts on “The Crazy Yellow-billed Cuckoo

  1. Love these cuckoo photos. Makes you wonder where we got that expression about cuckoo meaning crazy doesn’t it? And how about poor Jack Nickelson being crazy enough to fly over its nest? 😉 About how big is a cuckoo? I’ve never seen one, but was recently surprised to discover that cuckoos are summer residents of Massachusetts. I’d love to add one to my list!

    • Yellow-billed Cuckoos are about 12 inches tall, and yes they do summer in your part of the country. Find them in trees, brush, and edges of woods. Good luck in your hunt and thanks for commenting, Karen. 🙂

  2. I think previously to your photos I’ve only seen a cuckoo at our local zoo. Great photos and information Bob! Happy Day dear one!

  3. This Cuckoo looks much different than the one in my clock! 🙂 – Im sorry I couldnt help myself. Neat blog you have here. I look forward to reading your other posts. My dad and I used to go birding often when I was younger. I’ll have to pass this link on to him.

    • That’s okay, I have a sense of humor, too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will continue to follow it. I have checked out you blog and I enjoy it, too. I also hope that your dad will enjoy it, too.

  4. I learned something today..I had no clue they were related to the road runners..the Cuckoo is really a very lovely bird..especially like the second shot..Looks inquisitive..take care..and enjoy the naps..had 3 art shows back to back, so will kicking back for a day or the photos..

  5. Your virtual dart hit a very interesting subject Bob – the yellow bill and long tail make for a striking bird. I especially like your third image. Regarding naps – they’re something I’ve only recently begun to enjoy. They’re a delicious treat…

    • Thanks for all of your nice comments, Ron. I always enjoy hearing from you. By the way, I don’t think I ever wrote a post about the Yellow-billed Cuckoo before.

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