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Species Guide
A photo of a Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor)
Mangrove Cuckoo

Mangrove Cuckoo

Coccyzus minor

The Mangrove Cuckoo, Coccyzus minor, is a bird of considerable charm, with a long tail that is brown above and adorned with black-and-white below. Its bill curves elegantly, black in color with a touch of yellow on the lower mandible. The plumage on the head and upper parts is a uniform brown, while a striking yellow ring encircles the eye. This species is notably distinguished by its black facial mask and the buffy tones of its underparts. Despite its scientific name suggesting smallness, this cuckoo is, in fact, the largest of the three Coccyzus cuckoos found in North America.

Identification Tips

When observing this bird, look for its sizeable stature, measuring between 28–34 cm in length, with a wingspan of 38–43 cm. The bird's weight ranges from 64–102 grams. The black facial mask and buffy underparts are key features for identification, along with the yellow eye-ring.


The Mangrove Cuckoo is typically found in mangrove swamps and hammocks, environments that provide both food and shelter.


This cuckoo graces the southern reaches of Florida, the Caribbean, the coasts of Mexico and Central America, and the Atlantic coast of South America, extending as far south as the Amazon River's mouth.


The Mangrove Cuckoo is a resident bird, meaning it does not migrate but stays within its range year-round. It is generally fairly common within its specialized habitat but could face threats from human development.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Mangrove Cuckoo include a guttural series of "gawk gawk gawk gawk gauk gauk" and occasionally a solitary "whit."


Breeding Mangrove Cuckoos construct their nests 2–3 meters above water in mangrove trees or in a tree fork above ground. The typical clutch consists of two white eggs, each measuring 31 mm by 23 mm. Both parents participate in feeding the chicks.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Mangrove Cuckoo is varied, with a preference for caterpillars and grasshoppers. It will also consume other insects, their larvae, spiders, snails, small lizards, bird eggs, nestlings of small birds, and even fruit.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List currently classifies the Mangrove Cuckoo as Least Concern, indicating that, at present, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher risk category. However, ongoing vigilance is required to ensure that habitat destruction does not impact this species adversely.

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