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Version 1.0

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Pavonine Cuckoo Dromococcyx pavoninus

Peter E. Lowther
Version: 1.0 — Published December 11, 2009


Distinguishing Characteristics

Mato Grasso, Brazil. 6 September 2008. © Scott OlmsteadThe Pavonine Cuckoo has a long graduated tail and a short crest. It primarily is dark brown above and paler below, with a rich buff colored superciliary, throat and breast.

Similar Species

The Pheasant Cuckoo Dromococcyx phasianellus is similar to the Pavonine Cuckoo, but is larger overall, and has wider rectrices. Additionally, the buff color of the superciliary, throat and breast of the Pheasant Cuckoo is much lighter than in Pavonine, and the throat and breast of the Pheasant Cuckoo are heavily marked; the throat and breast of Pavonine Cuckoo have no dark spots or streaks.

Detailed Description

Sexes alike.

Adult: Crown, face and crest rufous; deep buff superciliary extends back to the nape. Back dark brown or dusky; feathers tipped white or pale gray, imparting a scaled appearance. Wings generally dark gray brown, but wing coverts tipped whitish, creating a narrow wing bar. Rump blackish. Upper tail coverts elongated (nearly covering the tail), black with small white spot at tip. Tail long, graduated. Upper surfaces of rectrices brown with broad white tip; under surfaces of rectrices gray with a subterminal black band and a white tip. Throat and breast rufous or deep buff, unmarked. Belly and under tail coverts white. Underwing coverts white.

Juvenile: Crown dark brown. Back uniformly dark brown (feathers lacking the pale tips). Wing coverts and remiges as in adult. Upper tail coverts and rectrices long (as in adult), but uniformly colored, lacking the pale tips. Sides of face gray brown. Superciliary light buff. Chin white, throat gray, and breast brown gray (Payne 2005).


No information.

Bare Parts

Data from Payne (2005):

Iris brown; orbital skin greenish gray with a yellow and black inner ring.

Maxilla black; mandible  gray.

Feet gray to gray brown.


Data from Payne (2005):

Wing (male): 134.4 ± 4.7 mm (range 129 - 145 mm, n = 13)

Wing (female): 133.8 ± 3.4 mm (range 126-142 mm, n = 5)

Tail (male): 150.4 ± 13.0 mm (range 132 - 174 mm)

Tail (female): 152.8 (range 135-170 mm)

Bill (male): 19.6 ± 1.4 mm (range 18.3-22.2 mm)

Bill (female): 19.1 mm (range 18.4-19.7 mm)

Tarsus (male): 28.2 ± 1.2 mm (range 26.6-33.2 mm)

Tarsus (female): 26.5 mm (range 26.2-26.9 mm)

Very few data on mass; mass about 50 g, range 45.2-50 g.

Recommended Citation

Lowther, P. E. (2009). Pavonine Cuckoo (Dromococcyx pavoninus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.pavcuc1.01