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Yellow Billed Cuckoo

Coccyzus americanus


Adults have a long tail, brown above and black-and-white below, and a black curved bill with yellow especially on the lower mandible. The head and upper parts are brown and the underparts are white. There is a yellow ring around the eye. It shows cinnamon on the wings in flight. Juveniles are similar, but the black on the undertail is replaced by gray.


A common, but slow-moving and secretive denizen of woodlands, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo eats large quantities of hairy caterpillars. Its loud call is heard far more frequently than the bird is actually seen.


Interesting tidbit - Although the Yellow-billed Cuckoo usually raises its own young, occasionally it will lay its egg in the nest of another cuckoo, or even that of a different species. It has laid eggs in the nest of at least 11 different birds, most commonly in the nest of the Black-billed Cuckoo, American Robin, Gray Catbird, or Wood Thrush. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo may itself be the inadvertent host for an egg of a Black-billed Cuckoo or Brown-headed Cowbird. Captured this shot totally by accident. Was photographing the tree when I noticed the bird.

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Spotted by

Greenville, Florida, USA

Spotted on Sep 6, 2009
Submitted on Feb 10, 2012

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