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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Banded Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus radiolosus

Janice M. Hughes
Version: 1.0 — Published November 10, 2017

Sounds and Vocal Behavior


The call of Banded Ground-Cuckoo resembles a deep moo of a cow with a frequency range of 300-380 Hz. The call rises over a period of about 2 seconds from 300–320 Hz to 320–380 Hz, and then falls to 320 Hz. It is repeated approximately every 5 seconds. This call is similar to calls of Long-wattled Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger) and Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana); however, the calls of Long-wattled Umbrellabird have no variation in pitch, and they pause for only about 2 seconds between successive calls (López-Lanús et al. 1999).

Banded Ground-Cuckoos call to one another while foraging apart and out of visual contact (Karubian and Carrasco 2008). Two to four individuals may call simultaneously. In one calling bout, two adults alternated their vocalizations in duet fashion. The calls increased in intensity as they progressed and then decreased in volume to near-silence. This vocalization bout lasted about 4 minutes, and occurred when the birds were separated by 15 to 80 m (López-Lanús et al. 1999).

Some field researchers observed that Banded Ground-Cuckoos respond to audio playback of the calls of other species (López-Lanús et al. 1999); however, others (Karubian and Carrasco 2008) found this to be unreliable.

Some common types of vocalizations may be absent in this species; although, more study is needed. For example, no vocalizations were made when adults replaced each other on the nest. Also, one nestling under lengthy observation did not produce any vocalizations until age 15 days, after which its nonvocal snapping call was given frequently (see Nonvocal Sounds). As a fledgling, the chick did not give a begging call prior to being fed by the adults (Karubian et al. 2007).

There are few available audio recordings of vocalizations of Banded Ground-Cuckoo; examples can be heard at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

Banded Ground-Cuckoos produce a snapping nonvocal sound with their strong mandibles, similar to that made by Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus). It was given repeatedly by a pair of cuckoos while foraging (López-Lanús et al. 1999). This sound was also made by the adults when disturbed. When uttered rapidly in series, it sounds like a loud crackling noise (Haffer 1977).

A nestling made this snapping call with its bill at age 15 days. Calling increased in frequency between ages 17 and 20 days, particularly when the adults were away from the nest. The bill snaps of the chick were answered by bill snaps of the adults if they were out of sight but still within hearing range (Karubian et al. 2007).

Recommended Citation

Hughes, J. M. (2017). Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.bagcuc1.01