Back in the mid -16th Century an English satirist used a phrase : “The byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye allways together.” Through time the proverb became the one we know today as “Birds of a feather flock together.” Although the phrase refers to birds of their own species, in this post you will see that this terminology as well as others are not always meant to be literal.
Let’s start with the top photo. This is a Squirrel Cuckoo so named not only for its similarity in coloring to the red squirrel but also in its similar ability to use its very long tail for balance:
Try as I might I could not get the entire cuckoo in all its glory in one shot:
Here is a picture from the internet so you can get a better idea on just how pretty the cuckoo’s tail is:
Fun Fact: Did you ever wonder why people are sometimes called “cuckoo” as a sign of silliness or eccentricity? This is actually a misnomer – for a cuckoo is actually sly and sharp as it is well known for laying its eggs in the nests of other birds, thus avoiding the toil of raising its own chicks.
Fun Fact: The name “cuckoo” is also a bit of a misnomer for the bird – the name usually refers to the sound the bird makes. However the Squirrel Cuckoo does not “cuckoo” like those wooden birds in a clock:
The next bird has very similar feather coloring to the above but it is not a cuckoo:
GREY HEADED CHACALACA – is in the guan family and its name derives from the Greek word for “pullet” or “domestic hen.” It is also supposed to refer to the 4 syllable call of the Chachalaca, but again this bird call does not sound like the bird’s name – see if you agree:
Here is a guan relative to the Chacalaca but looks nothing like it – either in coloring or shape:
CRESTED GUAN – a large, long-tailed bird found in tropical and subtropical forests. It is often found high up in the trees and has learned to avoid humans due to it being targeted as a game bird.
Birds of a feather, indeed!