Coccyzus americanus
(Yellow-billed Cuckoo)

Order: Cuculiformes
Order Description: Cuckoos
Family: Cuculidae
Family Description:Cuckoos

Physical Description:
11-13 1/2" (28-34 cm). A long, slender bird with, gray-brown back, and white underparts. Red-brown in primary feathers of the wings, most noticeable in flight; long, black tail with large white spots at tips of undertail feathers. Yellow lower mandible on the slightly curved bill.

Similar Species- Black-billed Cuckoo

Song is a long, rapid, throaty ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow- kowlp-kowlp--kowlp--kowlp, slowing toward the end.

Breeds from interior California, east to northern Utah, Minnesota, and New Brunswick, and south to southern Baja California, Mexico, and Gulf Coast. Winters in southern Central America and South America.

Found in open woodlands (especially where undergrowth is thick), parks, and deciduous riparian woodlands. When not breeding, found in forests, woodlands, and scrub. In Idaho, occupies riparian areas with thick understory.

Eats mainly caterpillars. Will also eat other insects, some fruits, and occasionally, small lizards and frogs.

Buiilds untidy nest in tree or shrub; occasionally uses nest of other species. Forages or hovers in foliage. Rare in Idaho, and present only in summer. Species is declining in parts of range due to deterioration of riparianClick word for definition habitat.

Female (usually) incubatesClick word for definition 2-6 eggs (commonly 3-5), for about 14 days. Both parents tend young, which climb in branches at 7-9 days.

Element Code: ABNRB02020
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1
National Rank: N5B

Important State References:
Taylor, D.M. and C.H. Trost. 1987. The status of rare birds in Idaho. Murrelet 68:69-93.

Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 1999
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.