How The Cuckoo Got Into The Cuckoo Clock

There are about 150 different species of cuckoo and they are widespread across the globe.

So why was a cuckoo chosen by the early clockmakers? 

The common cuckoo, native to European forests, was the bird which inspired the clockmakers of the Black Forest in Germany.

It was important to these early clockmakers because it had long served as a natural marker of time, a welcome harbinger of Spring whose familiar calls denoted the coming of the new season and warmer weather. In the early days the clockmakers of the Black Forest often spent the long cold winters making their clocks and with the changing of the seasons they changed their work, becoming engaged in the summer activities of growing and harvesting food. 

With so many species of Cuckoo across the world, are there any in New Zealand?

Yes, two cuckoo species (The Shining Cuckoo and the Long-tailed Cuckoo) visit New Zealand. Both are migratory, arriving in spring to breed and flying north to Pacific islands for winter.

They both have a pretty screechy sounding call, so we’re sticking with the beautiful sound of their common cuckoo cousins!

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