Black-billed Cuckoo

Coccyzus erythropthalmus

Order

CUCULIFORMES

Family

Cuckoos, Roadrunners and Anis (Cuculidae)

Code 4

BBCU

Code 6

COCERY

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-billed Cuckoo breeds in a variety of woodland habitats from southern Alberta east to Nova Scotia in Canada, and in the United States from Montana and Colorado east to Maine and South Carolina. Their nests are located in low shrubs or trees, and sometimes even on the ground. During the winter months, they migrate to western South America from Colombia to Bolivia, and have occurred as vagrants to Europe. They may make short distance migrations to breed at outbreaks of tent caterpillars. The Black-billed Cuckoo has an estimated, stable population of 870,000 individuals and a conservation status of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-billed Cuckoo: Medium cuckoo with brown upperparts, white underparts. Eye-ring is red and decurved bill is black. Tail is long with faint white, dark-eyed spots underneath. Feeds primarily on caterpillars, also eats insects, small fish, mollusks and fruits. Makes low flights of short duration.

 

Range and Habitat

Black-billed Cuckoo: Can be found throughout central and eastern North America. Breeds from Alberta and Montana east to Maritime Provinces, and south from Kansas to South Carolina. Spends winters in South America. Preferred habitats include moist thickets in low overgrown pastures and orchards; also occurs in thicker undergrowth and sparse woodlands.

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Black-billed Cuckoo SONGS AND CALLS

Black-billed Cuckoo A1

Song is a soft series of "cu-cu-cu" calls all sung on the same pitch.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"cu-cu-cu or cu-cu-cu-cu"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Spiny caterpillars account for a large part of the Black-billed Cuckoo’s diet. The spines of the caterpillars stick in the lining of the bird’s stomach. The stomach lining is periodically shed to remove the spines.
  • Their tendency to call more frequently prior to rain accounts for their nickname, “Rain Crow.”
  • A group of cuckoos are collectively known as a "cooch" and an "asylum" of cuckoos.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Kavita Jhunjhunwala

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X