Bible Animals: Cuckoo Cuckoo in the ancient World.
Ancient Cuckoo. IT is believed that the Hebrew word which is translated " Cuckoo," in Leviticus xi. i6, and Deuteronomy xiv. 15, really means a larger and different birdósuch a bird, perhaps, as the stormy petrel. The true cuckoo is a moderate-sized bird of an ash-gray color, the belly whitish, rayed with dusky black across, and tail feathers laterally spotted with white. They are celebrated for the singular habit of depositing their eggs in the nests of insectivorous (as well as grani-, vorous) birds ; and, what is not less extraordinary, the foster parents, often of species much inferior in size, bestow as much care on the young cuckoo as on their own proper nestlings, even although the deposition of the strange egg is followed by the destruction of what≠ever others may have been in the nest. If other eggs are subse≠quently laid, and hatched with the young cuckoo, the latter is en≠dowed with the astonishing instinct, about the eighth day, of ejecting its helpless companions by insinuating itself under them, and then by a jerk casting them successively over the rim of the nest. - Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible
Cuckoo in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. shahaph), from a root meaning "to be lean; slender."
bird is mentioned only in Lev. 11:16 and Deut. 14:15
"seamew"). Some have interpreted the Hebrew word by
"shearwater" (Puffinus cinereus), which is found on
the coast of
Syria; others think it denotes the "sea-gull" or
common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) feeds on reptiles and
insects. It is found in Asia and Africa as well as in
only passes the winter in Israel. The Arabs suppose it
utter the cry _Yakub_, and hence they call it _tir el-
i.e., "Jacob's bird."
Cuckoo in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
shachaph; Leviticus 11:16; Deuteronomy 14:15; unclean. Rather
the Greek cepphus of Aristotle, a large petrel, as the
Puffinus cinereus. From a root "to be slender", "light of
body" like a gull, whose body is small compared with its
apparent size and outspread wings; it skims the waves, seeking
its food in the agitated water. Andouini's gull, abounding on
the shores of Syria (Tristram), a more likely bird than the
storm petrel, which is seldom seen on land.
Cuckoo in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
kook'-oo, kuk'-oo (shachaph; laros; Latin Cuculus canorus):
The Hebrew root from which the word shachaph is derived
means "to be lean" and "slender," and in older versions of
the Bible was translated cuckow (cuckoo). It was mentioned
twice in the Bible (Lev 11:16, and practically the same in
Dt 14:15 the King James Version "cuckoo"), in the list of
unclean birds. The Latin term by which we designate the bird
is very similar to the Arabic, and all names for it in
different countries are so nearly the same that they prove
themselves based on its double cry, "cuck-oo," or the single
note "kowk" or "gouk." The bird is as old as history, and
interesting because the European species placed its eggs in
the nests of other birds, which gave rise to much fiction
concerning its habits. The European bird is a brownish gray
with white bars underneath, and larger than ours, which are
a beautiful olive gray, with tail feathers of irregular
length touched with white, knee tufts, black or yellow bill,
according to species, and beautiful sleek head and shining
eyes. Our birds build their own nests, attend their young
with care and are much loved for their beauty. Their food is
not repulsive in any species; there never was any reason why
they should have been classed among the abominations, and
for these reasons scientists in search of a "lean, slender"
bird of offensive diet and habit have selected the "sea-mew"
(which see) which is substituted for cuckoo in the Revised
Version (British and American) with good natural-history
reason to sustain the change.
Cuckoo in Wikipedia
Cuckoo, according to some, would be the bird called in Hebrew sh‚h‚ph (Leviticus 11:16; Deuteronomy 14:15), and there reckoned among the unclean birds. Two species, the cuculus canorus, and the oxylophus glandarius live in the Holy Land; however there is little probability that the cuckoo is intended in the mentioned passages, where we should perhaps see the shear-water and the various species of sea-gulls.