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Species Guide
A photo of a Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx basalis)
Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo

Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo

Chrysococcyx basalis

The Horsfield's bronze cuckoo, scientifically known as Chrysococcyx basalis, is a diminutive member of the Cuculidae family, weighing an average of 22 grams. This species is adorned with an iridescent green and bronze plumage on its back, and features incomplete brown barring that extends from the neck to the tail. A distinctive white eyebrow and a brown eye stripe set it apart from other bronze cuckoos.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify Horsfield's bronze cuckoo, look for the characteristic white eyebrow and the contrasting brown eye stripe. The iridescent green and bronze coloring on the back and the incomplete brown barring are also key identification features.


This cuckoo favors the drier open woodlands of Australia, typically avoiding densely forested areas.


Horsfield's bronze cuckoo is a common bird throughout Australia, where it can be found in suitable habitats across the continent.


Horsfield's bronze cuckoo exhibits nomadic tendencies, moving across various regions of Australia in search of breeding opportunities and food. During the breeding season, these cuckoos engage in a courtship ritual that involves feeding each other.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Horsfield's bronze cuckoo primarily consists of insects. They forage for small insects on leaves and branches, catch them on the wing, and during the breeding season, engage in the aforementioned courtship feeding behavior.


The breeding behavior of Horsfield's bronze cuckoos involves forming monogamous pairs for the season, with females occupying the breeding territory for a few weeks before being replaced by another. These cuckoos do not overlap their breeding territories, which suggests that pairs may defend their area throughout the season.


Horsfield's bronze cuckoo is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of host species, particularly fairy-wrens. The cuckoo's eggs mimic those of the host in size and coloration, and the female cuckoo is swift in laying her eggs, often within 6 seconds, typically replacing one host egg with one of her own. The cuckoo chick hatches earlier than the host's eggs and will eject other eggs from the nest to ensure it receives all the parental care.

Similar Species

While there are other bronze cuckoos, Horsfield's bronze cuckoo can be distinguished by its unique white eyebrow and brown eye stripe.

Conservation status

The Horsfield's bronze cuckoo is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline or extinction.

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Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoos on Birda

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Elegant Tit
06 Mar 2024 - 12:11am

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