Head, neck, breast, and upper parts, bluish ash: abdomen whitish, with transverse dusky bars.
C. canorus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. I. p. 381. Id. torn. in. p. 272. Common Cuckow, Mont. Orn. Diet, and Supp. Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 397. pi. 37, and pl. 43. f. 3. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. . p. 124.
Entire length thirteen inches six lines: length of the bill (from the forehead) ten lines, (from the gape) one inch two lines; of the tarsus ten lines and a half; of the tail six inches ten lines; from the carpus to the end of the wing eight inches nine lines: breadth, wings extended, twenty-three inches four lines.
(Adult). Head, and all the upper parts, bluish ash; throat, fore part of the neck, and breast, the same, but rather paler; belly, thighs, and under tail-coverts, whitish, with transverse streaks of dusky brown: quills dusky, barred on the inner webs with oval white spots: tail black, with a series of small white spots on the shafts of the feathers; the tips also white: bill dusky, yellowish at the base and edges; inside of the mouth, and orbits, orange-yellow: irides and feet yellow. (Young of the year). All the upper parts of a deep clove-brown, with transverse bars of pale ferruginous brown, the feathers tipped with whitish; a patch of white on the occiput: throat, and under parts, yellowish white, with transverse black bars: quills spotted with reddish brown on their inner webs: tail with alternate oblique bars of red and brown, the brown bar nearest the extremity broader than the others; the shafts of the feathers with a series of white spots; the tips white: irides liver-brown. (Egg). White, speckled all over with ash-brown; or reddish white, speckled with nutmeg-brown: long. diam. eleven lines; trans, diam. eight lines and a half.
Visits this country early in April, and leaves it again about the beginning of July; the young of the year remaining till September. Feeds principally on caterpillars, and other insects. Makes no nest, but commits its eggs (five or six in number) to the nests of other birds, generally selecting those of the Hedge Sparrow, Wagtail, or Tit-Pipit.