Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Coccyzus americanus




Cuckoos, Roadrunners and Anis (Cuculidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light blue green to light yellow green

Number of Eggs:

1 - 5

Incubation Days:

9 - 11

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

2 - 12 feet above ground

Nest Material:

Small sticks with lining of leaves, grasses, mosses, bits of fabric, and catkins from oaks and willow trees.





Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Medium-sized cuckoo with gray-brown upperparts and white underparts. Eye-rings are pale yellow. Bill is mostly yellow. Wings are gray-brown with rufous primaries. Tail is long and has white-spotted black edges. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Breeds from extreme southeastern Canada, throughout the eastern, southern, Midwestern states, and into northern Mexico. Found locally in the west and southwest from Montana to California. Spends winters in South America. Preferred habitats include moist thickets, willows, overgrown pastures, and orchards.

Breeding and Nesting

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: One to five light blue green to yellow green eggs are laid in a flimsy saucer of twigs built in a bush or small sapling. Incubation ranges from 9 to 11 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Mainly feeds on hairy caterpillars and cicadas; also eats other insects, bird eggs, snails, small vertebrates such as frogs and lizards, berries, and some fruits; forages in trees.

Readily Eats



Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Song is a rapid, harsh, rattling "ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kowp, kowp, kowp, kowp", slowing down at the end.

Similar Species

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Black-billed Cuckoo has red eye-ring, black bill, smaller tail spots, and lacks cinnamon-brown primaries. Mangrove Cuckoo has black mask, buff breast, larger white tail spots, and lacks cinnamon-brown primaries.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X