Fr: Coulicou de Cocos
All: Cocoskuckuck
Esp: Cuclillo de Isla del Coco
Ita: Cuculo di Cocos
Nd: Cocoskoekoek
Sd: Cocosregngök

Photographer :

Ken Havard
My Bird Gallery & Flickr gallery 1 & Flickr gallery 2

Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources :

HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 4 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334229

A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF MEXICO AND NORTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA by  Steve N. G. Howell, Sophie Webb - Oxford University Press - ISBN: 0198540124

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

INBio – Costa Rica

Observaciones sobre el comportamiento del Cuclillo del Coco Coccyzus ferrugineus Gould, 1843 (Aves: Cuculidae) en la Isla del Coco, Costa Rica
Christian G. Herrera Martínez1, Michel Montoya2 & Pablo Camacho2


Home page

Page Family Cuculidae

Summary cards


Cocos Cuckoo
Coccyzus ferrugineus

Cuculiformes Order – Cuculidae Family

The Cocos Cuckoo is an endemic species to Cocos Island (Costa Rica), and it is the unique cuckoo in this area. This species is vulnerable to introduced cats and rats by humans, and is confined to the forests.
The cuckoos of genus Coccyzus are nest-building, non-parasitic species, and they rear their young. They are insect-eaters.  

Length: 32 cm
Weight: 70 g

The adult has greyish-brown upperparts with rufous flight feathers. The long, graduated tail show broadly white-tipped rectrices.
The underparts are uniform buff, with slightly paler chin and throat.

On the head, crown and forehead are grey. There is a narrow blackish mask from the lores and through the eye, extending to the ear-coverts.
The bill has black upper mandible and yellow lower one with black tip. The eyes are dark brown, surrounded by narrow yellow eyering. Legs and feet are pale bluish-grey.
Both sexes are similar.
The juvenile has indistinct tail pattern. The adult tail pattern is usually attained in 1st winter.  

The Cocos Cuckoo is found on Cocos Island, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

The Cocos Cuckoo frequents second growth forest, vine-tangles along streams, Hibiscus thickets, and it is generally found in the tropical lowland forests.

The Cocos Cuckoo’s call is a dry, deep “kcha” usually repeated several times. It also produces a guttural “k’k’k’k’k’ru’hoo”.  
These sounds are used as advertising calls and to attract a mate.  
From an observation, the courtship feeding is accompanied by soft, sweet, guttural song “kohh kohh kohh” lasting a few seconds.

The Cocos Cuckoo feeds on various insects, sometimes fairly large ones such as cicadas and sphingidae caterpillars. It also takes lizards (Norops townsendi).
It forages by hopping and running, usually in thick vegetation, after scanning the foliage while searching for preys.

The breeding behaviour is unknown. But like the other cuckoos of genus Coccyzus, the Cocos Cuckoo spreads and raises its fanned tail during the courtship displays, in order to expose the conspicuous black-and-white pattern of the undertail.
Courtship feeding occurs too, and is often followed by copulation during three seconds.
Displays appear more active from December/January to late February, when they start to build the nest.

The Cocos Cuckoo is resident within its restricted range.

Information about the breeding and nesting behaviour is lacking, but usually, the New World Coccyzus species build a shallow cup-shaped nest in tree fork or low bush. The eggs can be pale blue-green to bluish. The chicks are altricial, and although they grow rapidly, they remain in the nest during this period and depend on adults for food.
In the medium-sized species like the Cocos Cuckoo, the young birds usually leave the nest about ten days after hatching. They are able to climb into tree branches if they are threatened.

The Cocos Cuckoo is threatened by introduced cats and rats which are nest-predators. Other animals such as feral deer and introduced goats degrade the habitat by grazing. The introduced pigs destroy the understorey of native forests. The increasing tourism involves some level of disturbance too.
This species has small population, probably below 1,000 individuals, living in restricted range. Although they are living in a National Park, the Cocos Cuckoos needs to be more closely monitored, like the habitat and the population of introduced mammals.
It is currently classified as Vulnerable by BirdLife International.