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Philippine Drongo-Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Romy Ocon
Mount Makiling, Laguna province, Philippines, January 2007
Surniculus velutinus


23cm (9 in).

  • Blackish plumage, velvety head and mantle, glossy purplish, blue or green wings and tail
  • Square tail
  • White bar on underside of wing
  • White leggings
  • Brown eye

Sexes similar. Juveniles are unmarked rusty-brown.

Similar species

Very similar to Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo but no gloss on head and mantle.


The Philippines and Sulu Islands.
Common in primary forest. However, this habitat is rapidly vanishing on the Philippines.



Three subspecies recognized[1]:

  • S. v. chalybaeus on Luzon, Mindoro and Negros
  • S. v. velutinus in the southern Philippines on Basilan, Biliran, Leyte, Samar, Mindanao, Malamaui and Bohol.
  • S. v. suluensis on Jolo, Bongao and Tawi Tawi

Forms a superspecies with Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo and Moluccan Drongo-Cuckoo and was in the past lumped with these species under the name Drongo-Cuckoo.


Lowland forest, in the canopy or understory.
Occurs from sea-level up to 1000m.



Feeds on insects, forages mainly in the canopy.


No information about breeding.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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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