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Northern Hawk-Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo by erikat
Changfeng Park, Shanghai, China, October 2011

Alternative name: Rufous Hawk-Cuckoo

Hierococcyx hyperythrus

Cuculus hyperythrus



  • Slate-grey upperparts with brownish wings
  • Grey and black banded tail with broad black subterminal bar and rufous tip
  • White moustache and supraloral area, white nape patch
  • Pale rufous breast and belly with fine grey streaks
  • Yellow eye-ring
  • Yellow bill with black tip

Sexes similar. Juveniles with buff edged feathers, tail with a broad white tip and streaked and spotted black below.


Breeds in China (Sichuan to northeast China and south to Yangtze valley), Ussuriland (Russia), Korea and southern Japan (Hondo).
Winters in southern China, southeast Asia, Borneo and Sulawesi.
Uncommon in most of its range.


This is a monotypic species.
It was formerly considered conspecific with Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo and Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo.
Some authorities view Northern Hawk-Cuckoo as belonging to genus Cuculus.


Found in deciduous semi-evergreen and evergreen forest. Also in secondary forest, bamboo thickets and plantations. Occurs up to 2300m in Japan.



Feeds on insects, mainly caterpillars. Takes also fruits and berries.
Forages in bushes and understorey.


Breeding season apparently from June to September. A brood parasitic. Known host species in Japan is Siberian Blue Robin.


A migratory species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2012. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221

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