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Squirrel Cuckoo

From Opus

Photo © by Rogerio AraĆŗjo DiasBrasilia, Brazil
Photo © by Rogerio AraĆŗjo Dias
Brasilia, Brazil
Piaya cayana


[edit] Identification

43-46cm (17-18 in)

  • Chestnut upperparts and head (paler on the throat)
  • Grey lower breast
  • Black belly
  • White-tipped chestnut uppertail
  • Black and white banded undertail
  • Bill and bare eyering are yellow
  • Red iris

Immature birds: grey bill and eyering, brown iris, and less white in the tail.

[edit] Distribution

Photo © by Jim CrosswellFinca Oro, Costa Rica, January 2009
Photo © by Jim Crosswell
Finca Oro, Costa Rica, January 2009

Central and South America
Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Trinidad
South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Subspecies P. c. nigricrissaPhoto © by Stanley JonesSan Martin, Peru, January 2017
Subspecies P. c. nigricrissa
Photo © by Stanley Jones
San Martin, Peru, January 2017

Fourteen subspecies share the rather large range[1]:

  • P. c. mexicana: Pacific slope of Mexico (Sinaloa to Isthmus of TehuĆ”ntepec)
  • P. c. thermophila: Eastern Mexico to eastern Panama, north-western Colombia and offshore islands
  • P. c. nigricrissa: Western Colombia and western Ecuador to central Peru
  • P. c. mehleri: North-eastern Colombia and coastal northern Venezuela east to ParĆ­a Peninsula
  • P. c. mesura: Colombia east of the Andes and eastern Ecuador
  • P. c. circe: Western Venezuela (region south of Lake Maracaibo)
  • P. c. cayana: Orinoco Valley of Venezuela to the Guianas and northern Brazil
  • P. c. insulana: Trinidad
  • P. c. obscura: Brazil south of the Amazon (Rio JuruĆ” to Rio TapajĆ³s)
  • P. c. hellmayri: Brazil south of the Amazon (SantarĆ©m to Amazon delta)
  • P. c. pallescens: Eastern Brazil (PiauĆ­, Pernambuco, northern Bahia and adjacent eastern GoiĆ”s)
  • P. c. cabanisi: South-central Brazil (central Mato Grosso and adjacent GoiĆ”s)
  • P. c. macroura: South-eastern Brazil to Paraguay, Uruguay and north-eastern Argentina
  • P. c. mogenseni: Southern Bolivia and adjacent north-western Argentina

[edit] Habitat

Open types of forest and woodland, canopy and edges, second growth, hedges and semi-open habitats.

[edit] Behaviour

It gets its English name from its squirrel-like way of running along tree branches and leaping from branch to branch without using its wings.

[edit] Diet

The diet consists of insects, cicadas, wasps and caterpillars (including poisonous ones), spiders and small lizards.

[edit] Breeding

Subspecies insulanaPhoto © by DABSChaguaramas, Trinidad, June 2018
Subspecies insulana
Photo © by DABS
Chaguaramas, Trinidad, June 2018

They are not brood parasites.

They build a cup-shaped nest of leaves. The clutch consists of 2 to 3 white eggs which are incubated by both parents.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved June 2018)

[edit] External Links


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