Backyard Birds

Sumatran Ground Cuckoos

The Sumatran Ground Cuckoos (Carpococcyx viridis) is a large, up to 55 cm long, long-tailed terrestrial cuckoo. It has a green upperparts plumage with a black crown, green bill and legs, bluish green bare orbital skin, and brown below. It was formerly considered conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species) with the Bornean ground cuckoo.

An Indonesian endemic, the Sumatran Ground Cuckoo is distributed in rainforests of southern Sumatra. Before it was rediscovered and photographed in 1997 by Andjar Rafiastanto, this elusive species was known only from eight specimens.

In 2006, a camera trap surveying tigers close to Kerinci Seblat National Park took an image of the Sumatran Ground Cuckoos, only the second time it had been recorded in the last ninety years. The current population is estimated at less than 250.

In 2007, its call was recorded for the first time according to New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society in a statement released February 26. The call, described as a two-syllable shriek, was recorded by WCS biologists after a trapper handed them a bird he had caught.

Due to ongoing habitat loss and small population size, the Sumatran Ground Cuckoo is evaluated as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


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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