Quiz about One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock
Quiz about One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock

One Flew Over the Cuckoo Clock! Quiz


Cuckoos are found all over the world but can be notoriously hard to spot. To solve that problem I've concocted a cunning plan to lure them out using a cuckoo clock. Let's see what you know about the cuckoos that ended up flying over it...

A multiple-choice quiz by Fifiona81. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Fifiona81
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
368,111
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
353
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The first bird to soar into view on hearing the "cuckoo, cuckoo" emanating from my cuckoo clock is Cuculus canorus, better known as the common cuckoo. For what unpleasant behaviour is the common cuckoo (along with a whole load of other cuckoos) best known? Hint

Scavenging in bins
Blood leeching
Brood parasitism
Torturing prey

2. A quick trip to the Indian subcontinent allows for a chance to see the common hawk-cuckoo, a bird which has a distinctive three-note call. By what alternative name, derived from this call, is it also known? Hint

Meningitis bird
Headache bird
Brainfever bird
Migraine bird

3. Cacomantis merulinus is a species of cuckoo found in the Philippines and surrounding areas of south-east Asia. It is named after the melancholic sound of its call, so can you pick out the common name of this bird from the options below? Hint

Mourning cuckoo
Plaintive cuckoo
Lamenting cuckoo
Nostalgic cuckoo

4. The blue-faced malkoha is a member of the cuckoo family native to southern India and which island nation known as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean' or the 'Teardrop of India'? Hint

Comoros
Seychelles
Sri Lanka
Madagascar

5. One of the world's smallest and most southerly ranging cuckoos, Chrysococcyx lucidus, can be identified by its distinctive plumage. What is the common name of this bird that derives from the colour of its feathers? Hint

Lustrous steel cuckoo
Shining bronze cuckoo
Glossy brass cuckoo
Polished pewter cuckoo

6. Another member of the cuckoo family is the common koel (also known as the Eastern or Pacific koel). Why is this bird colloquially known as the 'rain bird' or 'storm bird' in Australia? Hint

Its call sounds like a torrent of water
It is the only aquatic species of cuckoo
Its calls are often heard before rain storms
It is notoriously bad-tempered

7. There are around thirty species of coucal worldwide, all of which are members of the cuckoo family. One species of coucal found in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea is named for its (slightly tenuous) resemblance to which game bird of the family Phasianidae? Hint

Turkey
Pheasant
Quail
Grouse

8. The great lizard cuckoo has an alternative name derived from the country where it is predominantly found. To which island, the largest in the Caribbean, do I need to fly if I want to see a wild great lizard cuckoo? Hint

Hispaniola
Barbuda
Cuba
Barbados

9. The smooth-billed ani is a member of the cuckoo family found in the Caribbean and surrounding areas. What aspect of its behaviour sets it apart from most other cuckoos? Hint

It shares a communal nest with other smooth-billed anis
It steals the nests of other birds and raises their chicks alongside its own
It is aquatic and builds a nest on floating reeds
It migrates annually from the Caribbean area to Antarctica to nest

10. The final bird to fly over the cuckoo clock does so in a rather wobbly fashion as, although capable of flight, it spends most of its time chasing its prey on foot in the south-west US and Mexico. Which of the following fits this description? Hint

Golden-crowned emerald
Greater roadrunner
Purple-crowned fairy
Violet sabrewing


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The first bird to soar into view on hearing the "cuckoo, cuckoo" emanating from my cuckoo clock is Cuculus canorus, better known as the common cuckoo. For what unpleasant behaviour is the common cuckoo (along with a whole load of other cuckoos) best known?

Answer: Brood parasitism

Brood parasitism is the technical term for the cuckoo's practice of laying its eggs in the nests of other birds. The cuckoo will wait until a host nest is unguarded then remove one of the host bird's eggs from the nests, and replace it with one of their own. Some species of cuckoo have even evolved so that their eggs are a close mimic of those of their favourite host species. The common cuckoo generally picks on dunnocks, meadow pipits and reed warblers.

Unfortunately the bad behaviour doesn't end there as most cuckoo chicks when they hatch will shove any of the host birds' un-hatched eggs or even live chicks out of the nest. Cuckoo chicks are often much bigger than those of the host birds and require all of the food their surrogate parents can provide in order to survive.

The common cuckoo has a generally grey plumage and spends the summer in Europe or Asia before returning to Africa for the winter. This is the only species of cuckoo I would ever be likely to attract using a cuckoo clock set up in my back garden in southern England. So, to find other species (and manage more than a one question quiz) I clearly need to pack up my cuckoo clock and set off on a world tour...
2. A quick trip to the Indian subcontinent allows for a chance to see the common hawk-cuckoo, a bird which has a distinctive three-note call. By what alternative name, derived from this call, is it also known?

Answer: Brainfever bird

The three-note call used by the common hawk-cuckoo apparently sounds a bit like "brain fee-ver", hence the nickname. The term is also applied to other species with repetitive or monotonous calls (which are presumably irritating enough to induce a brain fever!)

The common hawk-cuckoo is not a strange hybrid of a hawk and a cuckoo. It actually gained its official name due to the fact that its plumage mimics that of the shikra (or little banded goshawk), a small bird of prey.

I was a little concerned that my trusty cuckoo clock would be useless for attracting the attention of a bird that is not known for calling out "cuckoo" at every given opportunity. Fortunately though it only took a few hours (and numerous "cuckoos") for the common hawk-cuckoo to put in an appearance overhead.
3. Cacomantis merulinus is a species of cuckoo found in the Philippines and surrounding areas of south-east Asia. It is named after the melancholic sound of its call, so can you pick out the common name of this bird from the options below?

Answer: Plaintive cuckoo

The plaintive cuckoo has mainly orange breast feathers with a grey head and red eyes. It is also a brood parasite so probably has little right to melancholia compared to the poor birds it picks on as host parents. Favourite victims of the plaintive cuckoo include tailorbirds, which are named for their ability to sew together leaves to provide a protective covering for their nests. Sadly these impressive skills are no defence against the cuckoo's egg laying invasions.

Before I get too homesick listening to the sad cries of the plaintive cuckoo drifting through the sky above, I quickly pack up my cuckoo clock and move onto my next cuckoo spotting destination.
4. The blue-faced malkoha is a member of the cuckoo family native to southern India and which island nation known as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean' or the 'Teardrop of India'?

Answer: Sri Lanka

The terms 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean' and 'Teardrop of India' are used for Sri Lanka because of its location off the south-east coast of India and the shape of the island.

The blue-faced malkoha would make a good ambassador for the wider cuckoo family as it is a good parent that brings up its own young in its own nest. The nests are built in low bushes and usually contain two to three eggs.

It is a relatively large species of cuckoo, with predominantly dark green feathers except for a striking blue patch around the eye which gives the bird its name. As they are relatively widespread and there is little concern over their conservation status, it shouldn't take too long to spot a malkoha and move on in search of other cuckoos.
5. One of the world's smallest and most southerly ranging cuckoos, Chrysococcyx lucidus, can be identified by its distinctive plumage. What is the common name of this bird that derives from the colour of its feathers?

Answer: Shining bronze cuckoo

The shining bronze cuckoo gets its name from its metallic golden head feathers and bronze coloured barring on its lower body. It also has distinctive copper or green coloured wings. It is found in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and a range of other island nations of the South Pacific. Like many cuckoos it is more often heard than seen, so a lot of patience is required to spot one (or a really effective cuckoo clock that might bamboozle the poor bird into thinking a friend was nearby).

Shining bronze cuckoos eat a variety of insects, but are particularly known for feeding on those unpalatable insects, such as spiny caterpillars, that are ignored by other birds. It manages this because of the thick lining in its throat and the ability to spit out the spines!
6. Another member of the cuckoo family is the common koel (also known as the Eastern or Pacific koel). Why is this bird colloquially known as the 'rain bird' or 'storm bird' in Australia?

Answer: Its calls are often heard before rain storms

The common koel apparently gets its 'storm bird' reputation because its calls are most often heard before a period of rainy weather. This probably derives more from traditional beliefs than any scientific weather interpretation on the part of the common koel. It does provide a handy warning though that I might have to make a quick dash undercover once a common koel responds to the impression of it produced by my cuckoo clock.

Common koels are striking birds, with the male having predominantly black feathers while the females have lighter plumage with a heavily barred tail. Although they are brood parasites, their presence is not as damaging to the host species as the young koels do not kill the host parents' own offspring by ejecting either the chicks or un-hatched eggs from the nest.
7. There are around thirty species of coucal worldwide, all of which are members of the cuckoo family. One species of coucal found in Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea is named for its (slightly tenuous) resemblance to which game bird of the family Phasianidae?

Answer: Pheasant

The pheasant coucal is a relatively large and heavy bird, better designed for ground-dwelling than soaring flight. They are another example of cuckoos that actually go to the effort of building their own nests and caring for their own young. Unusually, it is the male bird that takes the bulk of the responsibility for raising chicks including building the nest, incubating the eggs and providing food for the young birds.

Pheasant coucals are known for their distinctive call, which sounds something like "boop, boop, boop" rather than "cuckoo, cuckoo". The "cuckoo, cuckoo" of a traditional cuckoo clock is produced using a mechanism involving a pair of bellows that push air through two whistles on the side of the clock - the first whistle produces the "cu" and the second whistle manages the "koo". This design dates back hundreds of years so unfortunately it isn't an easy job to adapt my cuckoo clock to do an impression of the 'booping' pheasant coucal....
8. The great lizard cuckoo has an alternative name derived from the country where it is predominantly found. To which island, the largest in the Caribbean, do I need to fly if I want to see a wild great lizard cuckoo?

Answer: Cuba

The great lizard cuckoo, Coccyzus merlini, is also known as the Cuban lizard cuckoo. Like its common name suggests it lives on a diet of lizards as well as insects, frogs, snakes and birds' eggs. However, unlike what might be suggested by its Latin name, it has no apparent magical skills.

This particular species of cuckoo can be identified by its generally pale brown plumage, distinctive barred tail and bright orange-red bare patch of skin around its eyes. It is also quite large for a cuckoo, generally growing to around 50cm (20 inches) long - a large chunk of which is made up by its long tail. It is definitely a bird that you couldn't miss if it swooped overhead.
9. The smooth-billed ani is a member of the cuckoo family found in the Caribbean and surrounding areas. What aspect of its behaviour sets it apart from most other cuckoos?

Answer: It shares a communal nest with other smooth-billed anis

Smooth-billed anis nest high up in trees, with several pairs of birds contributing to the building process. Each female then lays up to seven eggs, although generally not all of these will hatch. All the adult female birds will then take turns to incubate the entire clutch of eggs and then feed the resulting young.

Smooth-billed anis are native to the Caribbean, Central America, southern Florida, and northern South America. They are social, gregarious birds in contrast to most of their cuckoo cousins which tend to be solitary creatures. Since these birds are often found in large noisy groups, no cuckoo clock was required in order to track down a specimen. This was just as well as the smooth-billed ani's call sounds more like "ooh-leeek" than "cuckoo".
10. The final bird to fly over the cuckoo clock does so in a rather wobbly fashion as, although capable of flight, it spends most of its time chasing its prey on foot in the south-west US and Mexico. Which of the following fits this description?

Answer: Greater roadrunner

The incorrect options are all species of hummingbird found in Mexico. Hummingbirds are renowned as skilled fliers, a reputation that the greater roadrunner definitely does not share.

Greater roadrunners have been immortalised in the 'Looney Tunes' cartoons which pit the Road Runner against Wile E. Coyote. It is important to note that the cartoons don't provide a terribly accurate depiction of the greater roadrunner. They don't have fancy blue plumage (they're predominantly brown) and they don't generally go "Beep, Beep" while avoiding traps made from Acme Corporation products!

Although relatively solitary birds like most members of the cuckoo family, the cuckoo clock actually manages to attract a second greater roadrunner to the scene of my cuckoo-related vigil. Unfortunately this one fails to take off in time to be seen flying over the cuckoo clock and barrels straight into it, causing irreparable damage to the mechanism. Sadly, this cuckoo clock adventure has been brought to an abrupt and ignominious end - much like most of Wile E. Coyote's endeavours...
Source: Author Fifiona81

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Tizzabelle before going online.
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