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Published: 13 Oct 2017

Piet-my-vrou/Red-chested cuckoo

Die Piet-my-vrou (Cuculus solitarius) is ‘n voël in die familie van koekoeke (Cuculidae). Dit is ‘n medium-groot voël wat 28 tot 30 cm groot word. Die Afrikaanse naam van die spesie is van sy kenmerkende roep ontleen.

Dit kom in alle Afrikalande suid van die Sahara voor. In Suid-Afrika is dit ‘n algemene broeiende trekvoël, en word in die hele gebied behalwe die droër weste gevind.

Die voorkeur habitat van die piet-my-vrou is woude en plantasies. Dit word gewoonlik alleen waargeneem, eerder as in die geselskap van voëls van dieselfde spesie.  Die piet-my-vrou paar met meer as ‘n enkele maat (dit is poligaam). Die piet-my-vrou se gewoonte is om die neste van ander voëls vir haar nageslag te gebruik (hulle is dus broeiparasiete). Die voël lê tot 20 bruinkleurige eiers per seisoen in verskillende neste. Omtrent vyftien spesies van kleiner voëls word geparasiteer, maar die mees algemene gashere is die gewone janfrederik (Cossypha caffra), die kwikkie (Motacilla capensis) en die witkeeljanfrederik (Cossypha humeralis). Die surrogaatouers maak dan (onwetend) die piet-my-vroukuiken groot.

The red-chested cuckoo (Cuculus solitarius) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is a medium-sized bird found in Africa south of the Sahara. In Afrikaans, it is known as “Piet-my-vrou”, after its call.  The red-chested cuckoo is a medium-size cuckoo about 31 cm (12.2 in) in length. The male has slate-grey upper parts, pale grey throat and sides of head and dark grey tail tipped with white. The breast is rufous or cinnamon, often with barring, and the belly is creamy-white or pale buff. The female is similar but the colour of the breast is duller and with variable amounts of barring.

It is usually solitary and highly vocal and lives on forests and plantations. It eats insects including hairy caterpillars, spiders, centipedesmillipedes, slugs, snails, small vertebrates and berries.[3]

The red-chested cuckoo takes on more than a single mate (it is polygamous). The nesting habit of red-chested cuckoo is to use the nest of another bird (brood parasitism). About fifteen different species of small bird are parasitised but the most common hosts are the Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra), the Cape wagtail (Motacilla capensis) and the white-throated robin-chat (Cossypha humeralis).[4] The surrogate family then raise the chick. The bird lays eggs which are brown in colour and number between 20 eggs per season in different nests.

Published: 13 Oct 2017

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