Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Scientific name: Cuculus micropterus, Gould, 1837

IUCN Red list status- Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Indian Cuckoo is also known as Short Winged Cuckoo.
  2. Indian cuckoo lays their eggs in the nest of Drongos.


The Indian Cuckoo is 30 to 35 cm in long and weighs 110-130 grams. The upper parts are slaty-gray with brownish tinge. The under parts are whitish with broad black barring. The tail is barred black at the sides with a broad sub terminal blackish band and a white tip. The eye-ring is greyish yellow. The irises are brownish red. The feet are orange. The female cuckoo has slightly paler throat and more brown plumage. The juvenile has brown upper side with white bands and streaks as well as white under side with brown bands and streaks.


They feed on hairy caterpillars and other insects but sometimes take fruits. They usually feed on the upper canopy, gleaning insects, sometimes making aerial sallies for flying termites or rarely even by hovering lower near the ground. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily and very rarely in pairs.


The habitat of Indian Cuckoo is deciduous and evergreen forests. But they are also seen in garden lands and thick scrub. In India they are distributed throughout the union except the dry areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat. They are also found in Sri Lanka and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of Indian Cuckoo is from May to July in Indian subcontinent. They are very vocal during breeding .They are brood parasites. They won’t build their own nests but lays the eggs in the nest of other birds especially Drongos and rely on the host to raise their young. Normally one egg is laid. Sometimes the cuckoo hatchlings heave out other eggs and nestlings of the host birds.


The call is a repeated, loud, flute-like “ku-ku-ku-ku” sound.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus).
  • Himalayan Cuckoo (Cuculus saturates).
  • Oriental Cuckoo (Cuculus optatus).
  • African Cuckoo (Cuculus gularis).
  • Red Chested Cuckoo (Cuculus solitaries).
  • Cuculus micropterus micropterus of Indian Sub Continent.
  • Cuculus micropterus concretus of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

Migratory Behaviour

Resident and Local Migratory.