along the Big Wood River on BLM land a couple miles below Magic Reservoir; GPS coordinates (NAD 83) UTM: 11 T 715865, 4786716
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
partly cloudy to overcast; Equipment: Swarovski EL 10x42 binoculars and Nikon Monarch 8x40 binoculars
this was during an official survey for YBCU
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, during the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley & Ibird pro (phone app) as well as having the broadcast caller to verify the YBCU vocal response. After/During the observation
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
A robin-sized bird with white underparts, warm brown upperparts, dark eye, long tail, and a yellow lower mandible
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
1st heard singing in response to a broadcast of its song (part of surveys for BLM); then seen perched on dead branches of a willow. Detected at 3 different broadcast points. Moved 300 m from first detection. Conducted survey, and detected again, bird flew in and then vocalized. Moved 300 m, no detection, moved another 100 m and got the 3rd and final detection which provided the best visual of the bird. Observed it feeding on insects at the 3rd spot.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
The song (husky series of notes) was enough as it closely matched the recording we used to broadcast but the yellow lower mandible combined with the long tail and white chest are diagnostic.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Black-billed Cuckoo eliminated by voice and the yellow lower mandible.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Jay has seen many of both cuckoo species, especially in South Dakota. This was my (Tempe’s) first YBCU sighting in Idaho but I have observed one other cuckoo in Wyoming. Austin has seen one other in Idaho (in his yard when he was a new birder!).
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Jay - extensive; 20+ years in US and Latin America, Tempe - becoming more serious in the last 5 years, but have worked in wildlife biology and avian field jobs for the last 10 years. Austin Young – Avid birder and extremely good.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description and photo support the identification of Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Well described - Black-billed eliminated -
Photograph is good
I'm convinced that this was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
Scant description, but principal field marks noted. Attached photo diagnostic.
Diagnostic photos and good written description of this regular local species, clearly eliminate other (unlikely) cuckoo species.
Description, habitat and photo all confirm proper identification of this rare bird report.