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Sunda Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by darwin1601
Fraser's Hill, Malaysia, February 2019
Cuculus lepidus


29–30 cm (11½-12 in)

  • Dark ashy-grey upperparts
  • Blackish brown tail, white spotted and tipped
  • Ashy-grey chin to breast
  • White lower breast and abdomen with black bars
  • White to creamy apricot vent with variable barring
  • Yellow eye-ring

Females are similar but have a rufous tinge to breast. Also has a rufous morph (in both sexes) with rufous rump and uppertail with dark barring.
Juveniles are slate-grey on upperparts with white feather edges, they have a black throat with white bars and have black and white barred underparts.

Similar species

Virtually identical to Oriental Cuckoo and Himalayan Cuckoo but smaller than those two.


Found on the Malaysian Peninsula, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and the Lesser Sundas (Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Pantar, Sumba, Timor).
Common to not uncommon in its range.


This is a monotypic species.
It was formerly considered conspecific with Oriental Cuckoo and Himalayan Cuckoo.
Has also been considered conspecific with Lesser Cuckoo.


Occurs in forests, open wooded areas and orchards. Found at all altitudes in Java and Sumatra, mostly at 1300-2700m in Borneo.



Feeds on insects, mainly caterpillars. Takes also some fruit.


A brood parasitic. Host species are small warbler of the genera Seicercus and Phylloscopus, e.g. Mountain Leaf Warbler, Sunda Warbler or Chestnut-crowned Warbler.


A resident species.


A high note followed by three lower flat notes, like hoop, hoop-hoop. Higher-pitched than Himalayan Cuckoo.


  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. 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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