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Private Lives: The Private Life of the Cuckoo


We have produced a Style Guide to help editors follow a standard format when editing a listing. If you are unsure how best to edit this programme please take a moment to read it.
Introduced by Jeffery Boswall

The bizarre life-style of the cuckoo is unique among European birds. This film tells the story of a pair of cuckoos that conduct their cuckolding in a colony of reed warblers. The hen lays 12 eggs, each in the nest of a foster-parent. The young squatter cuckoo on hatching, evicts the warbler eggs or chicks and takes for itself all the food the nanny warbler can collect. When the juvenile cuckoo is full grown it completely dwarfs the warblers but they continue to feed it until it flies off.

Many people regard cuckoos as clever or cruel, or both. By our standards they may be, but cuckoos are not humans, they are birds: birds with a simply amazing life-style as this extraordinary film shows.

Private Lives, based on previous programmes in the series, £1.75 from bookshops


Presenter/Writer/Producer: Jeffery Boswall
Filmed by: Maurice Tibbles

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This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions.

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Feedback about Private Lives: The Private Life of the Cuckoo, BBC One London, 18.25, 31 July 1975
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