GUWAHATI, March 10 - City-based general surgeon and filmmaker Dr Satyakam Phukan recently completed a captivating short documentary film on the Asian species of the cuckoo called kuli in Assamese, under his film production unit Ri-Mita Bolsabi. The film is based on the cuckoos found in Guwahati. �Guwahati still can host a large number of cuckoos with its abundant greenery,� said Dr Phukan.
The film has brought to light the requirements for the survival and proliferation of a cuckoo population in an urban locale. Dr Phukan said that firstly, in Guwahati, there are sufficient trees to provide the birds with food. Secondly, the kuli is a brood parasite, that is, it lays eggs in the nest of other birds. The male of the kuli is of black colour. They therefore choose to lay their eggs in nests of birds with black colour.
The most common brood host bird is the common crow, which is present in large numbers in Guwahati city. They also lay eggs in the nest of the thick billed crow, a type of raven, found less commonly in Guwahati.
The kuli is well known for its cooing. But contrary to the common belief, it is the male kuli that produces this sweet sound in the mating season. The mating season starts with the beginning of the spring season in Assam, which coincides with Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu. The festival is celebrated in mid-April, in the beginning of the Assamese month of Bohag and the Assamese New Year as well.
The kuli with its characteristic calling, therefore, finds an important place of reference in Assamese literature and music since time immemorial, said Dr Phukan.
The film has also brought to light the less known fact that the hill myna also plays a common brood host bird for the cuckoo. The hill myna is present in some localities of Guwahati.
Through the film, Dr Phukan also familiarises the common people with the female cuckoo of the Asian genus of the bird species, which is significantly different from the male birds of this bird species in size, colour, etc.