CUCKOOS of Australasia and their Allies

Order Cuculiformes   Family Cuculidae

In addition to cuckoos, the cuckoo family Cuculidae also includes the roadrunners, koels, malkohas, couas, coucals and anis. The coucals and anis are sometimes separated as distinct families. The cuckoos are generally medium sized slender birds. The majority are of the cuculidae family are arboreal, with a sizeable minority that are terrestrial. Most are tropical and the temperate species are migratory. The cuckoos feed on insects, insect larva, as well as fruit. Many species are brood parasites, laying their eggs in the nests of other species, but the majority of species raise their own young. Cuckoos are medium sized birds that range in size from 15-63 cm. There is generally little sexual dimorphism in size, but where it exists, it can be either the male or the female that is larger. There are two basic body forms, arboreal species which are slender and have short tarsi, and terrestrial species which are more heavy set and have long tarsi. Almost all species have long tails which are used for steering in terrestrial species and as a rudder during flight in the arboreal species.

OLD WORLD - Brood Parasitic

Brood parasitic birds lay their eggs in other species' nests. Most only parasitize a single host species or a small group of closely related host species. They tend to remove a host egg when they lay one of their own in a nest. This both prevents the host species from realizing their nest has been parasitized and reduces competition for the parasitic nestling once it hatches. Some brood parasites will eliminate all their nestmates shortly after hatching. If the host removes a parasitic egg or chick, the adult parasitic birds may retaliate by destroying the nest.

The Old World brood parastic species tend to conform to the classic shape, with (usually) long tails, short legs, long narrow wings and an arboreal lifestyle. The largest species, the channel-billed cuckoo, also has the most outsized bill in the family, resembling that of a hornbill.

Genus Cacomantis
The genus name is derived from the Greek kakos meaning evil or ill-boding and mantis for prophet and is derived from their association with "rains" being supposed to be predict ill fortune and bad weather. Most of them have a round nostril and are mainly in brown and gray colo rs. The tails are graduated and barred.

Cuckoo, Brush  Cacomantis variolosus  Found: east coast Australia, northen New Guinea
The Brush Cuckoo is gray-brown with a buff breast.
Image by: 1, 3) Aviceda - Kobble Creek, SE Queensland, Australia  2) David Cook - Wamboin, NSW, Australia
1) Juvenile 2) Female 3) Male

Cuckoo, Chestnut-breasted  Cacomantis castaneiventri   Found: Australia, New Guinea
Image by: 1) Tom Tarrant - northern Australia  2) Jerry Oldenettel - Papua New Guinea

Cuckoo, Fan-tailed  Cacomantis flabelliformis  Found: Australasia
The Fan-tailed Cuckoo has dark gray upperparts; buff underparts; barred black-and-white undertail; yellow eye-ring.
Image by: 1) JJ Harrison - Tasmania, Australia  2) Aviceda - Dayboro, SE Queensland, Australia
    3) Yip Kee Yap at Jerrara Dam, NSW, Australia  4, 5, 6) David Cook

Cuckoo, Pallid  Cacomantis pallidus  also  Cuculus pallidus  Found: Australasia
The Pallid Cuckoo has gray upperparts; light gray head, nape; pale underparts; yellow eye-ring.
Image by: 1) Oystercatcher  2) David Cook  3)  Aviceda  

Genus Chrysococcyx

Cuckoo, Black-eared  Chrysococcyx osculans  Found: Australasia
The Black-eared Cuckoo has gray upperparts; gray white-tipped tail; dark ear; whitish throat, supercilium.
Image by: 1) Aviceda - Bowra, SW Queensland, Australia  2, 3) David Cook

Cuckoo, Horsfield's Bronze-  Chrysococcyx basaliFound: Asia, Australasia
The Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo has bronze sheen on back; brown cap; incomplete bronze bars on whitish underparts; black-and-white undertail with rufous center; pale supercilium; dark brown eye-stripe.
Similar to: Little Bronze Cuckoo. Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo has dark eye-line; Little Bronze-Cuckoo doe not.
Image by:  1, 2) Aviceda - Capertee Valley, NSW, Australia 
    3, 4) David Cook - West Macgregor, ACT, Australia and Wamboin, NSW, Australia.

Cuckoo, Little Bronze-  Chrysococcyx minutillus  Found: Asia, Australasia
The Little Bronze-Cuckoo has bronze upperparts; white underparts with bronze dashed lines; red eye-ring and eyes (male); light eye-ring and brown eyes (female); white supercilium.
Similar to: Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo. Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoo has dark eye-line; Little Bronze-Cuckoo doe not.
Image by:  1) Aviceda - Kobble Creek, SE Queensland, Australia 
    2) Lip Kee Yap - Howard Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
    3) David Cook - Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia

Cuckoo, Long-billed  Chrysococcyx megarhynchus also  Rhamphomantis megarhynchus  Found: New Guinea
The male Long-billed Cuckoo has dark brown upperparts; black head; red eye-ring; grayish-brown underparts. Female has dark cinnamon upperparts; dark gary-brown head; cinnamon lower-breast; rufous-buff belly with fine barring.
Image by: 1) Jerry Oldenettel - Papua New Guinea

Cuckoo, Rufous-throated Bronze-
  Chrysococcyx ruficollis  Found:New Guinea
The Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo has green upperparts; rufous forehead, face; barred white and green underparts.
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden

Cuckoo, Shining-Bronze-  Chrysococcyx lucidus  Found: Australasia
The Shining Bronze-Cuckoo has bronze upperparts; white underparts with complete bronze bars; black bill. The world's smallest cuckoo.
Image by: 1) JJ Harrison - Bronze_Tasmania Australia  2) Aviceda - Dayboro, SE Queensland, Australia

Cuckoo, White-eared Bronze-  Chrysococcyx meyeri(iFound: New Guinea
Image by: 1) Jerry Oldenettel

Genus Cuculus
These Old World cuckoos lay a single egg in the host's nest. The cuckoo chick hatches earlier and grows faster than the host's chicks. It usually evicts the host's eggs or chicks from the nest. These are vocal species, with persistent and loud calls. They feed on large insects, with hairy caterpillars, which are distasteful to many birds.

Cuckoo, Oriental  Cuculus optatus   Found: Asia (including Japan), Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia
The male Oriental Cuckoo has gray upperparts, head, breast; creamy-white belly with dark bars. Female has two morphs. One similar to male  with brownish wash to breast. Other has reddish-brown upperparts with barring; paler on underparts with barring.
Similar to: Common Cuckoo. Oriental Cuckoo has yellow eye-ring; Common Cuckoo does not.
Similar to: Himalayan Cuckoo. Himalayan Cuckoo slightly smaller than Oriental Cuckoo and has slightly shorter wings.
Image by: 1) Judith Lukin-Amundsen - Australia 2) Alex White - Taiwan  3) Tom Tarrant - Australia 4) Hiyashi Haka 

Genus Eudynamys
These cuckoos are found in Asia, Australia, and the Pacific.

Koel, Australian   Eudynamys cyanocephalus  Found: Australasia, Indonesia
The Australian Koel is a large cuckoo. The male has a glossy blue-black body; pale greenish-gray bill; dark blue tail; red eyes; gray legs. The female has dark brown upperparts with light freckles; light moustacial line; striped whitish underparts. Their hosts are mainly large honeyeaters (especially noisy friarbirds and red wattlebirds. The young do not attempt to kill the host chicks.
Similar to: Asian Koel. Female Australian Koel has light moustacial steak; female Asian Koel doesn't. Ranges do not overlap.
Image by: 1) Vinni   2) Aviceda
1) Female  2) Male

Koel, Long-tailedalso Pacific Long-tailed Cuckoo  Eudynamys taitensis  Found: New Zealand and other Pacific Islands
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans
1) Adult on branch, chick on ground receiving worm from Gray Warbler

Genus Hierococcyx
The hawk-cuckoos resemble hawks.

Cuckoo, Philippine Hawk-  Hierococcyx hyperythrus  Found: Philippines
The Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo has gray upperparts; 3 or 4 dark and buff bars on tail; yellow eye-ring, legs, feet; black and olive bill.
Image by: 1) tebanwuds

Genus Scythrops - 1 species

Cuckoo, Channel-billed  Scythrops novaehollandiae Found: Australasia
The Channel-billed Cuckoo has a very large bill; pale gray head, back, underparts; darker gray wings; dark gray upper-tail; barred under-tail with a black band and white tip at the end. It is the world's largest cuckoo. It is brood parasitic and because of its size the host birds are large; for example ravens and butcherbirds.
Image by:  1) Lance  2) Bilby - Adelaide Zoo in South Australia  3) Tom Tarrant - Queensland, Australia  4) Ralph Green
1) Juvenile 2, 3, 4) Male

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