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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus rufipennis

Janice M. Hughes
Version: 1.0 — Published January 5, 2018



Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo is primarily terrestrial; although, they are capable of rapid flight, particularly when startled (Meyer de Schauensee and Phelps 1978, Hilty 2003). It has been described as solitary, restless, wary, and difficult to see (Meyer de Schauensee and Phelps 1978); however, it may be approached very closely on occasion (Hilty 2003).

Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo usually is seen walking or running swiftly along the forest floor in pursuit of prey. When pausing, they may raise their slightly spread tail somewhat above the horizontal. They also hop into low vegetation or perch on branches a meter or so up in the understory (Haffer 1977).

On one occasion, a Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo was observed dust-bathing in the road. When approached, it ran into forest. A taped playback of its call induced several loud mandible clacking vocalizations (Zimmer and Hilty 1997). See Sounds and Vocal Behavior: Nonvocal Sounds.


Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo appears to live in pairs that occupy a large home range (Hilty 2003). Nothing is known about territorial defense behavior.

Sexual Behavior

Little information; probably has monogamous mating system.

Social and interspecific behavior

Usually seen in pairs, sometimes in family groups (Ridgley et al 2005).


No information.

Recommended Citation

Hughes, J. M. (2018). Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus rufipennis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.rwgcuc1.01