Alternative name: Rufous-bellied Plaintive Cuckoo; Grey-breasted Brush Cuckoo (merulinus)
- Cacomantis merulinus
18 - 23.5cm
- Pale grey head, throat and upper breast
- Dark brown upperparts lightly glossed green
- Blackish tail with white tip
- Rufous buff lower breast; querulus has rufous up to throat; lanceolatus has only some rufous wash on lower belly
Females are similar but can also occur in a rufous morph, bright rufous above, barred with black, a plain rufous tail, throat and breast and dark-barred whitish rest of underparts.
Juveniles are variable, some are all dark grey, others rufous.
Grey-bellied Cuckoo has all grey underparts and dark grey upperparts. However, the songs are the same and juveniles look very similar.
Grey-bellied Cuckoo is sometimes considered conspecific.
- C. m. querulus from the eastern Himalayas to southern China, Burma, peninsular Malaysia and Indochina
- C. m. threnodes in southern Malaysian peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo
- C. m. lanceolatus in Java, Sulawesi and Togian Islands
- C. m. merulinus in the Philippines
Found in the forest edge, scrub and plantations frequenting the crown of tall trees.
Feeds on insects, mainly on hairy caterpillars. Takes also some fruit.
Forages often in canopy.
Breeding season from May to June in Borneo, April to August in northern Thailand. A brood parasitic. Known host species are Ashy Prinia, Common Tailorbird, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Zitting Cisticola and Yellow-bellied Prinia. Evicts host's eggs
Resident and seasonally migratory. Present February to October in southwest China, resident in southern parts of range.
Very vocal with it typical 3 note whistle followed by a rapidly descending sequence of slurred whistling notes.
- 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/
- 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
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Plaintive Cuckoo. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 28 July 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Plaintive_Cuckoo