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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

Diet and Foraging


Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo is primarily insectivorous; stomach contents include remnants of grasshoppers, crickets, and spiders (Pelzeln 1871). It also is known to eat fruit on occasion, in particular, used or partially used fruits dropped by troops of tamarins (Saguinus) that are foraging above the ground in trees (Hilty 2003). See Foraging behavior.

Foraging Behavior

Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoos forage on the ground (Meyer de Schauensee and Phelps 1978, Hilty 2003).

It follows army ant swarms (Eciton sp.), taking advantage of prey items that are flushed from the vegetation as the ants move through it (Hilty 2003). Other species attending one such ant swarm were Rufous-throated Antbird (Gymnopithys rufigula), Plain-brown Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla fuliginosa), and Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes certhia) (Zimmer and Hilty 1997).

Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoos also follow roving bands of White-lipped Peccaries (Tayassu pecari). The first indication of the presence of the foraging cuckoo if often its loud bill-snapping vocalization (Hilty 2003). See Sound and Vocal Behavior: Nonvocal Sounds.

Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoos sometimes follow along the ground beneath troops of small monkeys (e.g., Saguinus) consuming fruits that are dropped or insects that are disturbed by the movements of the monkeys in the trees (Hilty 2003).

Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo typically forages alone (Hilty 2003). It is estimated that they follow ants and peccaries no more than 50% of the time (Ridgley et al. 2005).

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