Thick-billed cuckoo

Thick-billed cuckoo
Pachycoccyx audeberti

Photo by Chris Perkins (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
thick-billed cuckoo (en); cuco-de-bico-grosso (pt); coucou d’Audebert (fr); críalo piquigrueso (es); dickschnabelkuckuck (de)

Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, being patchily distributed from Guinea to D.R. Congo and Angola, and more widespread in East Africa from Uganda and Kenya south to Mozambique and Botswana, and marginally into north-eastern South Africa.

These birds are 36 cm long and weigh 115 g.

The thick-billed cuckoo is found in moist tropical forests and dry savannas, as well as in riparian forests.

They feed mainly on caterpillars, but also take grasshoppers and mantids.

Thick-billed cuckoos are polygamous and brood parasites. They breed in September-April. After mating the female lays 1 egg on the nest of the host, almost invariably the Retz’s helmetshrike Prionops retzii. The egg is incubated by the hosts for 13 days. The chick ejects any other eggs or nestlings within 4 days of hatching. It is fed by the hosts and fledges 28-30 days after hatching but only becomes fully independent some 50 days later.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is reported to be uncommon to rare throughout this range. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the thick-billed cuckoo is not considered threatened at present.

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