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Thick-billed Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo by megan perkins
Mole National Park, Ghana, February 2011
Pachycoccyx audeberti



  • Grey above (brownish in worn plumage)
  • White lores
  • Narrow yellow eye-ring
  • Blackish wings
  • Tail barred brown and black
  • White underparts
  • Blackish bill, sometimes with yellow-green lower mandible or even all yellow
  • brazzae is smaller, blacker above and lacks the white on lores

Sexes similar. Juveniles are dark brown above with broad white spots on back and wing, their face is black and white.


Patchily distributed in Africa south of th Sahara.
Uncommon to rare in its range.


Three subspecies recognized:


Woodlands, lowlands, and riverine forests. A characteristic bird or rich miombo woodland.



Feeds on insects, mainly hairy caterpillars.


A brood parasitic; hosts are Helmetshrikes (Prionops), mainly Red-billed Helmetshrike. Hosts in Madagascar are unknown, but Chabert Vanga is suspected.
Breeding season from September to March in Zimbabwe. Incubation 13 days, nestlings evict host eggs and chicks. Fledges in 28 days.


A sedentary species with some local seasonal movements.


  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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