Mangrove Cuckoo which we were lucky to see today in J.N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Note the yellow orbital ring, curved bill and yellow lower mandible.
Note the long tail with bold white tips to feathers.
Mangrove Cuckoos are secretive and often stay quietly sitting in the mangroves.
Here's another view of the remarkable tail.
We led a Stokes Birding Tour as a fundraiser for the refuge and had the refuge to ourselves as it took place on friday, a day the refuge is closed to visitors.
We were able to see the cuckoo because we ran into the Mangrove Cuckoo research team of Rachel Frieze and her husband, Steve, from the Ecostudies Institute and they were observing this cuckoo.
Don and I led a Stokes Birding Tour as a special fundraiser for J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and our whole group got to see a Mangrove Cuckoo, the holy grail bird of southern Florida and on every serious birders want list who visits here. We took two trams through the refuge on friday (when the refuge is closed) and saw wonderful birds. How lucky for us that we ran into Rachel and Steve, who are researching Mangrove Cuckoos in the refuge, and they had one in view!! What a thrill for all of us!
There is still lots to learn about Mangrove Cuckoos, who are very secretive and uncommon and exist in the U.S. in mangrove habitat only in southern Florida. Ecostudies has been studying the life history and ecology of Mangrove Cuckoos in this refuge since 2012. They track the cuckoos during the year to understand their seasonal movements and habitat requirements. It is important to learn about this since the Mangrove Cuckoo population in southwest Florida has been declining.
You can help support the Mangrove Cuckoo research by making donations through the Ding Darling Wildlife Society (who helps support the cuckoo research) and earmark the donations for the Mangrove Cuckoo research.
Thank you all for coming on our Stokes Birding Tour!
I took all these photos with my Canon SX 50!
(FYI, it is not legal to play tapes in Ding Darling NWR in order to lure out birds.)