Wednesday, November 23

Large hawk-cuckoo

   ›      ›   Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides.

The large hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) belongs to the family of cuckoos, Cuculidae. These cuckoo species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. These large hawk-cuckoo species inhabit temperate forests, foothill forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, and deciduous woodlands.

Large hawk-cuckoo - Overview

  • Scientific name: Hierococcyx sparverioides
  • Species author: (Vigors, 1832)
  • Synonyms: Cuculus sparverioïdes Vigors, 1832
  • Family: Cuculidae › Cuculiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Common Name: Large hawk-cuckoo
  • Other languages: Chinese: 鹰鹃, French: Coucou épervier, German: Großer Sperberkuckuck, Spanish: Cuco grande, Russian: Большая кукушка, Malay: Burung Sewah Tekukur Besar, Indonesian: Burung Kangkok Besar, Hindi: बड़े हॉक-कोयल
  • Other names: Large hawk cuckoo
  • Distribution: India, Pakistan, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
  • Diet and feeding habits: caterpillars, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, bugs, aphids, cicadas, roaches, ants, spiders
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The large hawk-cuckoo is closely related to H. bocki (dark hawk-cuckoo ) and H. varius (common hawk-cuckoo).


Appearance, physical description and identification

The large hawk-cuckoo is a medium-sized bird, measuring 38 to 42 cm in length and weighing 110 to 160 grams. The plumage is slaty brown on the upperside. The head nape and neck are brownish gray. The tail is barred brownish gray. The folded wings give a graduated appearance. The underside is whitish and the neck and chest are vertically striated brownish gray.

The belly region in large hawk-cuckoo has horizontal brownish striation. The undertail is whitish. The iris is yellow and a yellow ring surrounds the eye. The feet are yellow. The bill is slightly curved and gray in color. The large hawk-cuckoo call is a soft, repeated fluty cooing sound.
Indian birds - Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides
Birds of India - Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides
Birds of India -Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides
Indian birds - Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides
Indian birds - Large hawk-cuckoo - Hierococcyx sparverioides
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Origin, geographical range and distribution

The large hawk-cuckoo is distributed in India, Pakistan, southern China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. Wintering populations occur in Peninsular India, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.

In India, the large hawk-cuckoo breeding populations are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal. Native resident and non-breeding populations occur in the states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Ecosystem and habitat

These cuckoo species inhabit temperate forests, foothill forests, subtropical or tropical mangrove forests, subtropical coniferous forests, deciduous woodlands, evergreen wooded areas, hillside forests and valley woodlands.

Diet and feeding habits

The diet of these cuckoos is mainly caterpillars and also insects like crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, bugs, aphids, cicadas, roaches, ants, spiders, butterflies and moths.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these cuckoo species is from April to July in Himalayan range. In Myanmar the breeding season is in April and May. Like most of the cuckoo species, these birds do not nest. They are brood parasites, laying eggs in the nest of other birds and rely on the host to raise their young.

Migration and movement patterns

These large hawk-cuckoo species are mostly migratory, the birds from northern temperate regions move southwards for wintering in November-December. They return to their breeding territories in the early summer. Post breeding dispersal of juveniles takes place. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Conservation status and concerns

The global population size of the large hawk-cuckoo has not been quantified. The overall population size is considered to be stable. These species have an extremely large range and population. The cuckoo species does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable neither under the population trend criterion nor under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the large hawk-cuckoo species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

Taxonomy and scientific classification of Hierococcyx sparverioides
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Cuculiformes
Family:Cuculidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Hierococcyx
Species:H. sparverioides
Binomial name:Hierococcyx sparverioides
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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