Hopefully my comparisons will give you new insights, help you with your ID skills, or just allow you to see two birds side by side. And since I am far from all-knowing, my comparisons just might compel you to teach me a lesson! So feel free to comment and add your own insights, which I will file away into my bird nerd bank. ;)
For my first Two Birds, I'm comparing the Black-billed Cuckoo (pictured left) with the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (pictured right).
|Left to right: Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)|
- Obvious red orbital ring
- Smaller, less decurved black bill
- Less contrasting color overall
- Small, faint white tail spots
- More slender overall
- Call a repetitive, one note "cu-cu-cu" (click here to listen)
- Less-obvious yellow orbital ring
- Larger, more decurved mostly-yellow bill
- Brighter coloration and contrast
- Large, bright white tail spots
- Slightly more bulky than Black-billed
- Call a more complex mix of metallic/wooden taps and rattles (click here to listen)
- These are generally secretive birds, sitting motionless at times waiting to snatch their favorite meal- caterpillars!
- Both birds are known to call before or during rainstorms, giving them the nickname "Rain Crows" (see Cornell's All About Birds website for more info).
- These birds have a similar range, though the Black-billed's extends a bit further north into Canada during summer; and the Yellow-billed's winter range is more extensive throughout South America. Both can be found in Michigan during summertime.
- Both can be found in deciduous woods and near wet openings, especially near willows.