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Species Guide

Striped Cuckoo

Tapera naevia

The Striped Cuckoo, known scientifically as Tapera naevia, is a distinctive bird and the sole representative of its genus. This near-passerine species boasts a length of approximately 27 cm (11 inches) and a weight of 40 g (1.4 oz), presenting a grey-brown plumage streaked with black and buff above. A pale supercilium and a striking chestnut and black crest, which it raises during displays, add to its unique appearance. The underparts are off-white, and it sports a long, graduated tail.

Identification Tips

Adult Striped Cuckoos can be identified by their grey-brown upperparts with black and buff streaks, a pale supercilium, and a distinctive raised chestnut and black crest. The underparts are off-white, and the tail is long and graduated. Immature birds exhibit buff spotting and are more rufous on the back and wings.


The Striped Cuckoo is found in open country adorned with trees or shrubs, as well as at the edges of mangrove forests.


This resident cuckoo has a broad range, extending from Mexico and Trinidad southwards to Bolivia and Argentina, and across to Colombia.


The Striped Cuckoo is a solitary and somewhat elusive bird, preferring the shelter of bushes. However, it will occasionally sing from more exposed perches. It is one of the few brood parasitic cuckoos in the Americas, laying its eggs in the nests of other species, such as spinetails and wrens.

Song & Calls

The species has a characteristic whistled call, often comprising two or three notes that sound like "wu-weee" or "wu-wu-wee." These calls can be mimicked to attract the bird.


As a brood parasite, the female Striped Cuckoo deposits one, sometimes two, white or bluish eggs in the large stick nest of its host. The eggs take about 15 days to hatch, and after a further 18 days, the cuckoo chick fledges, often to the detriment of the host's young.

Diet and Feeding

The Striped Cuckoo primarily feeds on large insects, such as grasshoppers and caterpillars, which it often captures on the ground.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Striped Cuckoo as Least Concern, indicating that it currently faces no significant threats to its survival.

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Striped Cuckoos on Birda


More Cuckoos

A photo of a Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis
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