The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Klaas's Cuckoo

Afrikaans name: Meitjie

Male Klaas's Cuckoo

Klaas's Cuckoo

Photo © Steven Herbert

Chrysococcyx klaas

Klaas's Cuckoo is quite a common bird in the southern and eastern regions of South Africa. During summer its call is commonly heard.

These birds are very beautiful and are similarly coloured to the Diderick Cuckoo. Females are fairly similar to makes but have thin brown stripes on their underparts.

The most interesting thing about these and other cuckoos is their breeding method. They parasitise a wide variety of other species of birds such as the Chinspot Batis, Cape Batis, Grey Sunbird, Marico Sunbird, Bar-throated Apalis and many more. The host broods the egg. The chick then chucks out any other eggs or chicks so that it gets the complete attention of its hosts.

Klaas's Cuckoos mainly feed on caterpillars but they also eat butterflies, beetles and termites.

The Afrikaans name for this bird is "Meitjie", which is pronounced "may key" and is quite an accurate representation of its call.

References and further reading

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 53

The Doves, Parrots, Louries & Cuckoos of Southern Africa - Author: M.K. Rowan - Published: 1983 - Page: 334

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 112

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 143

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 24

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 238

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 35

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 230

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 331

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 242

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 336

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 250

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 208

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 208

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 160

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 106

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 80

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 127

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 40

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 45

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 119

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 67

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 100

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 143

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 82

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 110

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 110

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 156


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List of South African Birds

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