Order: Cuculiformes

Family: Cuculidae

Scientific name: Clamator jacobinus, Boddaert, 1783

IUCN Red list status- Least Concern

Did you know?

  1. Jacobin Cuckoo is also known as Pied Cuckoo and Pied Crested Cuckoo.
  2. Jacobin Cuckoo lays their eggs in the nest of Babblers.


The Jacobin Cuckoo is 30- 35 cm long and weighs 65-70 grams. The adult bird has a glossy black or dark brown back and white chest and the belly. There is a white patch on the black wings and a white tip on the black tail feathers. The crest and the bill are black and the irises are dark brown. Both sexes look similar.


The diet of Jacobin Cuckoo primarily consists of insects, grasshoppers, hairy caterpillars, termites, land snails, fruits and berries. They are mainly arboreal foragers, but occasionally comes to ground for food hunting. The forage time is mainly day and it is done solitarily or very rarely in pairs.


The Jacobin Cuckoo inhabits dry, deciduous forests, thorny, dry scrub jungle, open woodland, wetlands and dry lowlands. They avoid dense forests and extremely dry ecosystems. In India they are distributed throughout the union. They are also found in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Reproductive Behaviour

The Jacobin Cuckoo usually breeds from June to August in north India and January to March in south India. They are brood parasites. They do not build their own nests but lay their eggs in the nest of host birds like babblers. The hatchlings are raised by the host birds.


The call is a ringing “kiuu-kiuu” or a tinkling “piu-piu”.

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Chestnut Winged Cuckoo (Clamator coromandus).
  • Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius).
  • Levaillant’s Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii).
  • Clamator jacobinus jacobinus of South India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
  • Clamator jacobinus serratus of South Africa and Zambia.
  • Clamator jacobinus pica of Africa, North Zambia, northwest India to Nepal and Myanmar

Migratory Behaviour

Resident and Summer Migrant