The Yellow-billed cuckoo is a Neo-tropical migrant bird that is common to Florida during the migration seasons. These birds travel North to their Summer grounds in much of the Eastern United States. The best time in the Spring to see them here on the West coast of Florida is in April and early May. During the Fall, they start their migration back South to their wintering grounds in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.
They are very skittish birds to see and, often, the first glimpse you see of the bird is it flying off and away from you. With a careful second approach, you can usually find them perched on a branch scanning the area for food.
Coastal areas are great places to find them. They love mangrove trees, sea grape trees and other undergrowth vegetation that provides cover.
Yellow-billed cuckoos are identified by their characteristic bill, which is mostly yellow with a bit of black on the top and tip of the bill. The rusty brownish tail feathers also help to identify the bird from other cuckoo species.
Their diet consists of insects, but they especially like caterpillars. Their secretive nature makes them quite difficult to photograph, at times, but some individuals are more approachable than others. So, if you see a flash of brown and white fly off quick, follow it carefully and you too could spot one of these awesome birds!