Backyard Birds

Great Lizard-cuckoos

The Great Lizard-cuckoos (Coccyzus merlini) are Caribbean cuckoos that are also known as Cuban Lizard-cuckoos.

Distribution / Habitat

The Great Lizard Cuckoos occur naturally on the Bahamas, Cuba and Turks and Caicos Islands.

They inhabit tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, lowland and montane, moist broadleaf forests, as well as heavily degraded former forest.


The Great Lizard-cuckoos are the largest of the Caribbean lizard-cuckoos.

They average 54 cm in length and weigh about 155 g.

Their plumage is mostly olive-brown, except for the chestnut-colored abdomen and the deeply barred undertail.

They have bare red eye rings and a long bill.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on lizards and insects, including locusts.

Breeding / Nesting

They differ from other cuckoos in as much as they raise their own young, rather than depending on host birds. They saucer-shaped nests made of twigs and other plant material.

The average clutch consists of two to three eggs.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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