Sunday, June 13, 2010

"That's your choky pepper..."

Talking about onomatopoeic words, the word "cuckoo" seems to be one of the most well known examples. Here in Japan, there are many species of cuckoos. Three of them are the commoner ones, the Eurasian, the Oriental and the Lesser Cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus). As we all know that the Eurasian Cuckoo has a very distinctive "kook-koo" call, the Lesser as well has a memorable call that has been put into words as "That's your choky pepper"! This call along with the Eurasian's and the Oriental's are ones of the many common background vocals of summer in Japan!
These photos were actually taken since the first year of me living in Japan, which is 2008. I went walking on the mountain around my campus and there were actually lots of these birds calling and flying around in the area. I remembered seeing 2 or 3 male birds chasing each other fiercely down the hill below. I luckily found this one calling from a tree top close to the road and I could grab some few shots before the bird flew out. This species is actually very very shy and I've never managed to get any shot since then. If you want to hear how its "That's your choky peper" sounds like, just click play on the youtube video below!

5 comments:

Stu said...

Nice shots, actually it sounds very similar to Grays Grasshopper Warbler........

Phil said...

Yes that is a very distinctive call and nice shots of the bird.

Chris said...

Wonderful pictures and pretty impressive calls. Well done!

John said...

Years ago, birding near Darjeeling in India, I heard this constantly, but didn't know what it was... I had read Salim Ali's description of Lesser Cuckoo's call as "That's your choky pepper" but it took me about three days to connect the description with the call !

Nice pics.

Unravel said...

Hahahaha Nice story, John!
India is another nice place for this bird...