Cocos Cuckoo Coccyzus ferrugineus

Javier Tenorio Brenes
Version: 2.0 — Published October 22, 2020


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Generally makes only short flights, of no more than 30 m; these flights often consist of several quick flaps followed by a finishing glide (1). Within trees, advances primarily with hops along branches, and short flutters and glides.

Sexual Behavior

Cocos Cuckoo is socially monogamous. The male begins courtship with a search for an insect to deliver to the female (courtship-feeding). The female follows the male, while both frequently give a short, guttural vocalization (1). Once the prey is captured, it is presented to the female. Before copulation the male performs a display spreading the tail in a fan, exposing it while bending his body and lifting the tail; at the same time, he maintains the wings open showing the intense rufous of their remiges and touching the ground with the chin. If the femaile is receptive, the male lands on her back and pass the item to her during copulation. If the female rejects the item presented by the male, copulation does not occur, although the male may make another attempt with a different insect (1). The two observed copulations both were in a Cecropia pittieri (Urticaceae), one 7 m tall and the other 15 m tall (1). Copulation lasts ca 5 s.

Social and Interspecific Behavior

Solitary other than when breeding (1), although it sometimes forages together with Cocos Finch (Pinaroloxias inornata) (J. Tenorio, personal observation).


The only known predators are introduced mammals: feral cats (Felis cattus) and both black (Rattus rattus) and brown (Rattus norvegicus) rats prey on the cuckoo (16). Predation by diurnal raptors has not been reported; the only raptor species reported to date in the island are Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus), and Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus).

Recommended Citation

Tenorio Brenes, J. (2020). Cocos Cuckoo (Coccyzus ferrugineus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, S. M. Billerman, and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.coccuc1.02