I spent some time watching a pair of Great Spotted Cuckoos. The male was very adept at catching caterpillars, every sortie seemed to be successful. The female would then start begging in a way very reminiscent of a young bird. The first few times he simply ignored her and ate his caterpillar.
Courtship feeding is fairly common in birds. Given the significant investment a female makes in the reproductive process it’s a good idea to check that the male is capable of delivering the goods to the nest. Most cuckoos don’t bother to feed their own young. These particular cuckoos lay their eggs in the nest of Eurasian Magpies and leave the feeding to foster parents.
So I was very interested to see what would transpire and in due course he made her an offer …
… and she accepted.