Little Cuckoos

The Little Cuckoos (Coccycua minuta) is a tropical American bird species of the cuckoo family (Cuculidae). It was formerly placed in the genus Piaya but a monotypic genus Coccycua was once erected for it.

This has been reinstated following the discovery that the closest living relatives of the Little Cuckoo are some species traditionally placed in Coccyzus or Micrococcyx, rather than the other members of Piaya.


This small cuckoo cuckoo occurs from Panama and Trinidad south through Colombia to Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil; in tropical Ecuador, it has been recorded as high up as 1,900 meters ASL.

The Little Cuckoo is found in mangrove swamps, and scrubby woodland near water.

It is generally believed to be an all-year resident, but its irregular occurrence in some areas has led to speculations that it undertakes seasonal short-distance migrations.

Fairly widely distributed and not particularly rare, it is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN.


This species is about 27 cm long and weighs 40 g.

The adult is mainly chestnut brown, with a greyish lower belly, browner tail, and white tips to the tail feathers. The bill is yellow, short, and decurved; the iris of the eyes is red.

Immature birds are dark brown with a black bill and no white tail tips.


The female lays two white eggs in a deep cup nest in a tree or bamboo. Like many other American cuckoos, it incubates the eggs itself.

Call / Vocalization

The Little Cuckoo makes harsh check and kak calls.

Diet / Feeding

This is a shy species that tends to keep cover as it forages in low branches for insects and other arthropods.


  • ffrench, Richard (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition ed.). Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
  • Hilty, Steven L (2003). Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.

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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