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Species Spotlight: Yellow-billed Cuckoo

 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is a Jay-sized, ¬†slender, long-tailed bird, brown above and white below,¬†with large white spots on underside of tail and a flash of rufous in wings. Bill slightly curved, with yellow lower mandible. This bird’s tendency to utter its distinctive call at the approach of a storm has earned it the name “Rain Crow.” Both the Yellow-billed and Black-billed cuckoos are fond of hairy caterpillars, and during outbreaks of tent caterpillars are valuable in helping to keep these creatures in check. Yellow-billed cuckoos are common in Winnebago County and can be seen in Sugar River, Colored Sands, and Pecatonica River Forest Preserves.