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Little Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies minuta
Photo © by Francisco Paludo
Alta Floresta, MT, Brazil, 1 April 2018

Alternative name: Lesser Chestnut Cuckoo

Coccycua minuta


Photo © by Robert Scanlon
Rio Amazona, Peru, January 2005

25 cm (9¾ in)

  • Chestnut upperparts
  • Rufous-chestnut throat and breast
  • Dark grey lower belly
  • Brown tail with white terminal spots
  • Red iris and eyering
  • Greyish-yellow bill

Immature birds are dark brown with a black bill and lack the white tail tips.


Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, the Guianas, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.


This species has alternatively been placed in genus Piaya or genus Coccycua.


There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • C. m. panamensis:
  • Lowlands of eastern Panama and northern Colombia (west of Gulf of Urabá)
  • C. m. barinensis:
  • Extreme eastern Colombia and adjacent western Venezuela
  • C. m. gracilis:
  • Colombia west of the Andes and western Ecuador
  • C. m. minuta:
  • C. m. chaparensis:
  • North Bolivia (Río Chaparé region)


Tropical lowland forest edges, secondary forests and clearings. Mature mangrove swamps, and scrubby woodland near water.



They construct an open, deep twig cup nest, which is placed in thick shrubs. Their clutch contains 2 white eggs.


Diet consists mostly of insects, including caterpillars, wasps, beetles, bugs, flies, as well as spiders.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Payne, R. (2019). Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54905 on 31 July 2019).
  3. Banks, R.C. et al. (2006) 47th Supplement to the AOU Checklist of North American Birds. The Auk 123(3):926–936, 2006 [
  4. SACC proposal
  5. Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/litcuc2
  6. Payne, R.B. (2005) The Cuckoos. Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York.
  7. Schulenberg, T. S. & Stotz, D. F. & Lane, D. F. & O'Neill, J. P. & Parker III, T. A. & Egg, A. B. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691130231

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