Black-billed Cuckoo

photo by Phil Swanson (juvenile bird)

Coccyzus erythropthalmus
L 12″ (31 cm).

Song or calls:
Monotonous “cu-cu-cu” or “cu-cu-cu-cu.”

Description: Sexes similar. Long,slender bird. Grayish-brown above, grayish-white below. Rather long, curved bill is all black; but some birds may have a yellow spot on the base of the lower mandible. Primaries are uniformly brown, compared to the rufous primaries of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Reddish eyering. Undertail feathers are gray with white tips. Juvenile is similar but with buffy eyering; paler undertail with less contrasting white spots; and underparts may show a buffy tinge.

Behavior: Cuckoos are generally quiet, shy birds and usually remain concealed in vegetation. Also breeds in Nebraska.

black billed cuckoo
Habitat: Usually found in dense wooded habitats, especially those with a variety of trees, bushes and vines for nesting sites.

Where in Nebraska: Uncommon to common spring and fall migrant and summer resident across the state. Most common in the northeast, and rarer in the south and west.

adult Black-billed Cuckoo - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission