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A photo of a Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta)
Little Cuckoo

Little Cuckoo

Coccycua minuta

The Little Cuckoo, known scientifically as Coccycua minuta, is a modestly sized bird, measuring approximately 27 centimeters in length and weighing around 40 grams. The adult's plumage is predominantly chestnut brown, complemented by a greyish lower belly. The tail is a slightly darker brown with distinctive white tips on the tail feathers. A notable feature is its yellow, short, and decurved bill, paired with striking red irises.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Little Cuckoo, look for its smaller size and darker throat, which distinguish it from the similar Squirrel Cuckoo. Immature birds can be recognized by their dark brown coloration, black bill, and the absence of white tail tips.


This species is typically found in mangrove swamps and scrubby woodland areas close to water sources.


The Little Cuckoo's range extends from Panama and Trinidad, through Colombia, and down to Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil. In Ecuador, it has been observed at elevations as high as 1,900 meters above sea level.


A rather elusive bird, the Little Cuckoo is known for its tendency to remain hidden within cover. It actively forages in low branches, searching for insects and other arthropods to feed on.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Little Cuckoo include harsh "chek" and "kak" calls.


The female of the species lays two white eggs in a deep cup nest situated in a tree or bamboo. Unlike many of their Old World counterparts, American cuckoos, including the Little Cuckoo, incubate their own eggs.

Similar Species

The Squirrel Cuckoo is similar in appearance but can be differentiated by its larger size and lighter throat.

Diet and Feeding

The Little Cuckoo's diet consists primarily of insects and arthropods, which it seeks out in the lower branches of its habitat.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Little Cuckoo as Least Concern, indicating that it is not currently at significant risk of extinction.

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Little Cuckoos on Birda

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Chris Bell
27 Apr 2024 - 10:51am

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