Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Scientific name: Cacomantis sonneratii, Latham, 1790

IUCN Red list status-Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Banded Bay Cuckoo is also known as Bay Cuckoo.
  2. Banded Bay Cuckoo lays their eggs in the nests of Ioras, Bulbuls and Minivets.


The Banded bay Cuckoo is 18-20 cm in long and weighs 30-35 grams. The overall plumage is reddish brown on the head and upperparts and whitish on the under parts. The upperparts are barred with brown. There is a dark stripe across the eye and distinctive white super cilium above the eye stripe. The nostrils are round. The wings and tail are dark brown with a sub terminal black band on the tail. The irises are brownish yellow and legs are grey. Both sexes look similar.


The diet of Banded bay Cuckoo is mostly insects. Caterpillars, dragonflies, mantises, grasshoppers and beetles are their primary food. They glean the prey from foliage or the ground. They are also known to hawk the prey in the air. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily.


The habitat of Banded bay Cuckoo includes moist lowland forests, foothill forests, deciduous forests, dry shrub lands, open woodlands, evergreen forests etc. In India it is distributed throughout the union but evident mainly during monsoon season. They are more common in South India than in North India. They are also found in Sri Lanka.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of Banded bay Cuckoo is from February to August in western India and April to August in north-eastern India. Also the breeding season coincides with the breeding season of the local host species. These banded bay cuckoo species are brood-parasites, and lays their eggs in the nests of Ioras, Bulbuls and Minivets and rely on them to raise the young ones. The cuckoo chicks cause harm to eggs and young ones of the host species. But the host birds incubate the eggs and take care of the cuckoo young ones without knowing the deceit.


The call is a high pitched whistling “wee-tee-wee-tee” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus).
  • Grey Bellied Cuckoo (Cacomantis passerinus).
  • Cacomantis sonneratii sonneratii is distributed in India.
  • Cacomantis sonneratii waiti of Sri Lanka.
  • Cacomantis sonneratii musicus of Indonesia.

Migratory Behaviour

Uncommon Resident and Local Migrant