Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Guira Cuckoos

The Guira Cuckoos (Guira guira) is a social, non-parasitic cuckoo found widely in open and semi-open habitats of eastern and southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and north-eastern Argentina. It is monotypic (one single species) within the genus Guira, and is related to the anis.

It has whitish-buff underparts and rump, dark brownish upperparts, a broadly white-tipped dark tail that is relatively long, an orange-rufous crest, bare yellow ocular (eye) skin (commonly fades in captivity), and a relatively heavy, orange-yellow bill.

It is generally rather shaggy-looking and has a total length of approximately 34 cm (13 in). Like other members of the subfamily Crotophaginae, the Guira Cuckoo gives off a strong, pungent odour.


The Guira Cuckoos is arboreal, but can frequently be seen on the ground, usually in flocks of 6 to 18 individuals. It is sometimes seen with other birds such as the Chalk-browed Mockingbird (Mimus saturninus) and the Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) whose behaviour is similar.


The Guira Cuckoo feeds on big arthropods, frogs, small birds and small mammals such as mice.


The nest is built on a tree fork 5 metres from the ground. The eggs (from 5 to 7) are dark green and covered with a chalky layer.

They are incubated either in individual or community nests; in the latter one can find up to 20 eggs. Under community nests, there are many broken eggs.

The competition between the young being great, and mortality is significant.


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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