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Generally a small cuckoo with a long tail and a rather thin curved bill.
Non-hepatic females are rare. They are duller than males and browner.
Partially migratory. Himalayan birds move south, Indian birds are probably resident. Arrives in Sri Lanka in October and leaves again in April.
Sometimes considered conspecific with Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus. The song of both species is very similar, juveniles look the same and their host species are the same too. The split bases on reported sympatry in NE India. Monotypic.
Open woodland, secondary forest, scrubland, parkland, gardens, agricultural areas, towns and villages, also subtropical pine forest. Common in most of its range.
Sings from treetops, frequently changing position and tree. Sings at night and in dim weather at day. Silent in winter.
Breeds from June to September. Like many other cuckoos this species is a brood-parasitic. Host species are Prinias (e.g. Ashy Prinia), Cisticolas (e.g. Zitting Cisticola) and Common Tailorbird. Evicts host's eggs.
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