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Black-billed Cuckoo - Coccyzus erythropthalmus

black-billed cuckoo


 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Cuculiformes
 Family: Cuculidae
 Genus: Coccyzus
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least Concern Least Concern



black-billed cuckooThe black-billed cuckoo is a slender bird, 11-12 inches in length, with a wingspan of 13-16 inches. It has a long tail with a gray underside and slender white tips on the feathers. It has a down-curved black bill and a ring of red skin around its eyes. It is a soft brown on its head, back, and wings. It has a light, sandy brown throat and a white breast and belly. Males and females look alike.


mapThe black-billed cuckoo breeds from Alberta, Canada east to Nova Scotia, Canada and south through the United States. It winters in South America.



The black-billed cuckoo is found in thickets, orchards, groves of trees, and marshes, and forest edges.


Caterpillars make up a large part of the black-billed cuckoo's diet. It also eats other large insects, bird eggs, berries, fruits, and seeds.

Life Cycle

The female lays 2-4 eggs in a messily arranged cup of twigs and grasses that is placed low in a tree or bush. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 10-13 days and the chicks fledge in 7-9 days.


The black-billed cuckoo is often heard and not seen! It stays hidden in dense vegetation. Its call is a "coo-coo-coo-coo" sound, usually repeated a few times.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer cc logo