The Cuuloo is a ground bird
that dwells in forests all over Santharia.
Their plumage makes them an easy target, but these same feathers make them a
beautiful game bird that is sometimes kept as a pet.
Appearance. The Cuuloo is a beautiful bird, with bright plumage and long feathers. A crown of dark blue feathers at the head, red breast feathers and golden black-tipped feathers along the wings. One long red flight feather at the tip of each wing, and a long stream of green tail feathers extend a fore and span past the Cuuloo's body. The bird has bright yellow eyes, and the cocks have a sprig of red feathers sprouting just above the eye. The cock's feathers are iridescent, catching and reflecting light in dazzling colors. The hen's colors are not iridescent, but beautiful nevertheless.
The call of the Cuuloo is the reason the bird has its name. In mating season, the cock calls loudly, "cuu-loooooooooo!" and the hen responds with "cuu-loo! cuu-loo!"
Special Abilities. The Cuuloo has no special abilities, other than its call and plumage. It cannot fly well, and stands out in the forest to those that see in color.
Territory. The Cuuloo lives in forests all over Santharia. It is not territorial, cocks and hens live in clutches of 3-10, though in seperate groups. These clutches move together, feed together and sleep together. They only seperate in breeding season, to come together in different clutches once the babies are born.
Habitat/Behaviour.. The Cuuloo are quiet and calm birds. They spend most of their time foraging among grasses for food, cuu-loo'ing quietly. When a predator approaches, they drop to the earth and tuck their heads into the red breast- feathers, attempting to look like a clump of grass, laying still. This action fools color-blind predators, who see only zaggy lines and assume it to be a bush, passing it by. If a predator gets too close, the entire clutch flees, flapping their useless wings and scurrying for cover. Thus their safety is ensured in their numbers.
Diet. The Cuuloo eat a variety of seeds, grasses and insects.
A large Cuuloo egg. Picture by Bard Judith.
Mating. The mating
season is in early spring. Hen clutches break up, each hen taking a bush for her
territory. They then call to the males, using the sound that is their namesake.
The males, upon hearing the first calls of the season, approach
the females and their staked bush.
If two cocks approach the same bush, a "battle" ensues. The males call their long call to one another, then begin bobbing their heads and bodies up and down, calling. This happens for some time, while the hen watches. When the female has made her decision, she leaves the security of the bush and attacks the loser with her beak and claws.
The cock and hen mate under the proctection of the bush, and the female lays 3-5 eggs a few days after. The male and female alternate warming the eggs, while the other forages for food. A month later, the eggs hatch. The chicks are dully plumed, to match moreso to the ground. For the first month of the chick's life, they live in and around the bush. After that, both parents depart, the Hen taking the girl chicks while the cock takes the males.
New clutches take form, usually 2-3 adults of the same sex and their offspring. Cuuloos live 6-10 years.
Information provided by Viresse