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Jacobin Cuckoo ( चातक पक्षी ) : A Bird known as Harbinger of Rains

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Jacobin Cuckoo ( चातक पक्षी ) : A Bird known as Harbinger of Rains


Jacobin Cuckoo



# It was a cloudy morning and during walk in Kanpur cantt. area, we heard unique ringing call from a bird perched on the nearby tree top. Out of curiosity we moved closer to the tree and clicked some photos of the bird. Later on we identified it as ‘Jacobin Cuckoo’. Due to its black & white pattern in appearance, it is also known as ‘Pied cuckoo’. Further due to presence of crest, it is also called as ’Pied Crested Cuckoo’.

# The Hindi name of this bird is ‘Chatak (चातक’)’ and is a very popular bird in poetry. As per Indian mythology, this bird does not drink water throughout the year except during rains in ‘Swati nakshtra’ and that too directly from rainfall. It is a migrant bird and its arrival heralds the advent of monsoon in the north India. Great poet Kalidas has mentioned about this bird in his famous epic ‘Meghadootam’.


Salient Features of Jacobin Cuckoo:

· A summer migrant bird of India, normally found in Asia & Africa.

· Has distinctive pied , black crest and white wing patch.

· Has long tail and prominent white tips to tail feathers.

· It is believed that it does not drink water throughout the year and waits for rain to quench thirst.

· Their calls are repeated ringing of whistling notes –‘piu…piu..pee…pee..piu.’

· They arrive in summer and their sighting herald the arrival of rains. Normally found in areas with scrubs, gardens & open woodlands. They are mainly arboreal but sometimes hop on the ground in search of food.

· They feed mainly on insects, rodents, caterpillars, fruits etc.

· Scientific name is ‘Clamator jacobinus’. It belongs to ‘Cuculidae’ family.

· IUCN conservation status: ‘Least Concern’ (LC).



It fills us with bliss & peace on sighting such a famous and unique bird during monsoon which has mention in poetry and songs.

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