Sanibel Island – MANGROVE CUCKOO!

I met Jim Schlickenreider this morning and we headed off to J.N.”Ding” Darling NWR. We had a goal in mind, to finally get a MANGROVE CUCKOO! We had all the latest information on where people have been seeing and photographing them. We entered the Wildlife Drive upon opening at 7 am. We very slowly worked our way around the drive, parking and walking for intervals and spending the most time in the best areas. By 10 am we had covered it all without success. We decided to do the Shell Mound Trail and then start all over. We had some decent birds, Indigo Bunting, Hooded Warbler, Magnificent Frigatebirds etc. We went back to the beginning, stopping at the best spots, and ultimately mile marker 1.5, where the man at the gate recommended this morning. We began walking up the drive when suddenly, a cuckoo came from behind me and banked right in front of me. I immediately felt it was the Mangrove Cuckoo because as it banked and spread its wings to land in Mangroves, I noted there was no rufous in the birds wings. (Yellow-billed Cuckoo has extensive rufous). I saw where the bird landed and we tried to get on it. I found a spot we could see through and there was the bird perched. Its head was obscured by foliage, but it sat with its wings drooped in the sun, further confirming no rufous in the primaries. We were joined by another birder, also wanting to see the bird. Just as I got Jim on the bird, it flew to the left. Again, I spotted it perched. Again its head was partially obscured. The difference this time was that the birds bill and lores could be seen. The uppper bill was black and the lower yellow. Again the primaries were seen to have no rufous. I knew at that point there was no question that it was a Mangrove Cuckoo. The bird then flew again and we lost it. We knew approximately where it landed but couldn’t spot it. As we moved up road, the cuckoo flew out of the Mangroves, once again crossing the road. Jim and the other bird saw It pass behind me. The other birder confirmed the buffy belly of the bird as it passed. We couldn’t find it again, so no photos and we sure had to work for the bird, but it was worth finally getting it for the ABA area.

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9 Responses to Sanibel Island – MANGROVE CUCKOO!

  1. scott j baldinger says:


  2. matthewzeitler says:

    Congrats John, that must have been so exciting! Patience and persistence paid off! Matt

  3. Bill says:

    About time šŸ˜œ!

  4. You can say that again! I got the Pacific Golden-plover this morning, will post it shortly.

  5. Jim says:

    ‘Toot-toot’ brings the bird in !

  6. Yes Jim, thanks for all that tooting, I would have been exhausted! I really think your tooting is what brought the Mangrove Cuckoo in! Great birding with you and see you soon!

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