Summary

Print of Black-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus by John James Audubon, 1830 (as Coccyzus erythropthalmus). This plate illustrated Audubon's ability to fill the frame with drama and beauty, achieved here with the inclusion of the magnificent giant bloom of the Magnolia grandiflora. The Black-billed Cuckoo depicted were not captured "on one of these trees, but in a swamp near some, where the birds were in pursuit of such flies as you see figured, probably to amuse themselves."

This image (Plate 32) was published life-size in Audubon's first edition magisterial The birds of America, where the scale and the subtle tones of aquatint etching emphasised both the perils and vigour of nature.

Description of Content

Black-billed Cuckoo

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