Backyard Birds

Levaillant’s Cuckoo

The Levaillant’s Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii) occurs in bushy habitats in Africa south of the Sahara. It was named for the French explorer, collector, and ornithologist, François Le Vaillant.


The Levaillant’s Cuckoo measures about 37.5 cm (15″) in length.

There are two color morphs (genetic mutation:

The light morph is black above, faintly glossed bluish or greenish. The throat streaking may extend onto the sides. The primaries (longest wing feathers) and tail tips are white.

The dark morph is black except for the white primary wing patch and white spots on the outer tail feathers.

The juvenile is brown above, and rufous on the wing feathers and tail tips. The forehead, face, and underparts are buff-colored, and the throat is more streaked.

Similar Species: The Levaillant’s Cuckoo is longer-tailed than the Pied Cuckoo, and has a more heavily streaked throat.

Nesting / Breeding

This brood parasite lays its eggs in the nests of bulbuls and babblers for them to raise their young.

Call / Vocalization:

The call is described as a low-ringing kuwu-weer, kuwu-weer… and an excited ku-wi-wi-wi


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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