Based on its name, many people assume that cuckoo clocks only feature cuckoo birds. While commonly used in these intricate and artistic timepieces, cuckoo clocks feature other animals as well. So, what type of animals can you expect to find in genuine cuckoo clocks?
Let's first cover the most common type of animal featured in cuckoo clocks: the cuckoo bird. Cuckoos are medium-sized birds that live primarily in trees. They were revered by the Ancient Greeks, many of whom viewed the bird as being sacred. The cuckoo also has significance in Japan, where it symbolizes unconditional love and compassion. Clocks featuring the cuckoo bird typically produce a distinct cuckoo call, either once every hour or once every half hour.
The European elk is another animal that's commonly featured in cuckoo clocks. Known as a moose in North America, it's the largest modern-day deer species. Elk are powerful, majestic animals that bring life and vibrance to a cuckoo clock. Most cuckoo clocks featuring the European Elk are made of carved wood, emphasizing the elk's antlers and stature.
In addition to cuckoo birds and elk, owls are also featured in genuine cuckoo clocks. This shouldn't come as a surprise given the fact that several species of owl are native to the Black Forest region, including the barn owl and great horned owl. These nocturnal animals have exceptional vision, with the ability to rotate their necks 270 degrees (about three-fourths all the way around).
Cuckoo clocks featuring owls are made using the same high-quality materials and craftsmanship as those featuring cuckoo birds. Rather than producing the sound of a cuckoo call, however, they typically produce the sound of an owl's hoot.
Cuckoo clocks may also feature wolves, particularly the Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus). Weighting up to 86 pounds (39 kg) on average, it's the largest wolf native to Europe. The wolf has been revered throughout history, with cultures such as the Baltic, Celtic, Turkic, Greece, Roman and German revering them. Cuckoo clocks featuring wolves typically produce the sound of a wolf's howl.
These are just a few of the most common types of animals featured in cuckoo clocks. The truth is that any animal can be used in a cuckoo clock. Being that each clock is handcrafted, the artist can choose which animal he or she wants to use. Other animals that you may find featured in cuckoo clocks include bears, rabbits and foxes.