Unusual markings inside baby cuckoo's mouth.

To: <>
Subject: Unusual markings inside baby cuckoo's mouth.
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 16:53:43 +1100
About: "There are very few specimens of nestlings in museums." Even if there
was, surely this would be a hard feature to preserve and look at. I will add
that Immelmann's "Australian Finches" book has a diagram of the mouth
markings of nestlings of all Australian Finches.


-----Original Message-----From: 
 On Behalf Of Graeme Chapman
Sent: Friday, 2 November 2012 3:34 PM   To:      Cc:
       Subject: [Birding-Aus] Unusual markings
inside baby cuckoo's mouth.

Hello Jenny,

 According to Google, in many places, nestling birds from very different
families have distinctive mouth markings. 

 In Australia, nestling Pheasant Coucals, possibly the ugliest nestlings in
existence, have very attractive tongue markings. Coucals are closely related
to cuckoos. You can see a picture on my website at

I have seen distinctive tongue markings in other birds in Australia, such as
Golden-headed Cisticola, the grassbirds, the songlarks and Horsfield's
Bushlark to name a few. The bushlark is also on my website. 

I have a vague memory of having possessed a coloured broadsheet many years
ago that showed a wide range of different patterns and colours of nestling's
mouth patterns somebody had once photographed, but I  can"t find it now.

It is an interesting subject, but unless you are a bird photographer or bird
bander (or even an egg collector!!) such information, which I suspect would
be a useful taxonomic clue, is largely unknown. There are very few specimens
of nestlings in museums.


Graeme Chapman


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