Dan and I stopped by the Lowry Park Zoo on the Fourth of July for a few minutes. We only had a few minutes and with a yearly pass, it made it easy to “duck-in” for a visit. The Aviary is just inside the gate, so we visited there as usual. I have been trying to get a decent photo of the Crested Coua. It is difficult because they are kept behind fine wire that gives me a fit trying to shoot through it. You would not want to know how many great photos of wire that have been deleted. Not only did I get a fair photo, but they were the most active I have seen them. They are beautiful birds and I love the way the Lord created them and especially their eyes. The eyes remind me of:
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12 KJV)
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:18 KJV)
The Crested Coua, Coua cristata, is a medium-sized, approximately 17.3 in/44cm long, greenish-grey coua with grey crest, blue bare orbital skin, rufous breast, brown iris, black bill and legs, white belly and long white-tipped purplish-blue tail feathers.
The Crested Coua is distributed and endemic to forests, savanna and brushland of Madagascar. Widespread and a common species throughout its large habitat range. It is found from sea-level to altitude of 2,950 ft/900 metres. They feature brightly colored bare skin around the eyes. Some resemble Coucals in their habit of clambering through plant tangles while foraging, while the arboreal species move between tree canopies with gliding flight. Four species occur(red) in rainforests while the remaining six are found in the dry forests of western and southern Madagascar.The diet consists mainly of various insects, fruits, berries, seeds, snails and chameleons.
They were created with large feet, with a reversible third toe like all cuckoos. The female usually lays two white eggs in nest made from twigs. Couas build their own nests and lay white eggs. The Crested coua is notable for the highly unusual markings that chicks display on their inner beaks, video of which can be seen on the Zoo’s YouTube channel. Coua Chick Mouth Markings. Cuckoos are know for placing their eggs in other bird species’ nests. It appears that this Coua chick may even imitate the mouth markings of the host chicks. The Lord commanded the birds to multiply and fill the earth. It appears, some even in the cuckoo family, are taking this to the limit.
And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. (Genesis 1:22 ESV)
Couas’ calls are short series of evenly spaced notes, which are sometimes answered by other individuals.
Other Coua are the Verreaux’s, Blue, Red-capped, Red-fronted, Coquerel’s, Running, Giant, and Red-breasted Couas. They are members of the Cuculidaes, which is called the Cuckoo Family. The cuckoo family, in addition also includes the roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals and anis.
The Blue Coua is a deep blue with a bare blue oval around the eye and beak. It averages a size of 18.9-19.7 inches long and weighs approximately 8.2 ounces. The Blue Coua’s diet consists of insects, varied fruits, and small reptiles. Blue Coua’s can be found in the NorthWest and East areas of Madagascar. Specifically in the sub-tropical to tropical moist lowland, mangroe forest, and moist montane ares. It is a species of cokoo birds. In spanish it is known as the Cua Azul. The bird only lays one egg in a nest hidden in trees and bushes.
One of the most important distinguishing features of the Cuculidae family are the feet, which are zygodactyl, meaning that the two inner toes pointed forward and the two outer backward. There are two basic body forms, arboreal species (like the Common Cuckoo) which are slender and have short tarsi, and terrestrial species (like the roadrunners) which are more heavy set and have long tarsi. Almost all species have long tails which are used for steering in terrestrial species and as a rudder during flight in the arboreal species. The wing shape also varies with lifestyle, with the more migratory species like the Black-billed Cuckoo possessing long narrow wings capable of strong direct flight, and the more terrestrial and sedentary cuckoos like the coucals and malkohas having shorter rounded wings and a more laboured gliding flight.
What an amazing Creator that has provided such a diverse and interesting creation that we can enjoy watching and learning about. We will never run out of things to observe and be delighted about enjoying His many feathered wonders.
Close-up of Coua Eye
(Information from various internet sites – Wikipedia)