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Grey-bellied Cuckoo

Cacomantis passerinus

The Grey-bellied Cuckoo, or the Indian Plaintive Cuckoo, is a modestly sized member of the cuckoo family, measuring approximately 23 centimeters in length. The adult's plumage is predominantly grey, with a distinctive white lower belly and undertail. A notable white patch adorns the wings. In contrast, some females exhibit a dark-barred reddish-brown coloration above, an unbarred tail, and strikingly dark-barred whitish underparts. Juveniles bear a resemblance to the female but present a more subdued grey hue.

Identification Tips

To identify the Grey-bellied Cuckoo, look for its grey upperparts and white underbelly. The white wing patch is a key feature, along with the unbarred tail in females. Juveniles and females can be distinguished by their duller grey and dark-barred underparts, respectively.

Habitat

This species shows a preference for light woodland and cultivated areas, where it can often be found during its breeding season.

Distribution

The Grey-bellied Cuckoo has a broad range across tropical southern Asia, from India and Sri Lanka to southern China and Indonesia. It is known to inhabit countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The bird is a short-distance migrant, with populations in the north and at higher elevations moving to warmer areas during the winter months.

Behaviour

The Grey-bellied Cuckoo is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of warblers. It is known for its persistent and loud vocalizations, often accompanied by a characteristic tail movement, with the tail being held in a depressed position.

Song & Calls

The call of the Grey-bellied Cuckoo is a distinctive and repetitive pee-pip-pee-pee, which can be heard across its habitat.

Diet and Feeding

Its diet is composed of a variety of insects and caterpillars, which it actively forages for.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has classified the Grey-bellied Cuckoo as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers that would warrant a higher risk category.

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Grey-bellied Cuckoos on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Cuckoos

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

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis
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