- Cocos Cuckoo
 - Cocos Cuckoo
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Cocos Cuckoo Coccyzus ferrugineus

  • VU Vulnerable
  • Names (15)
  • Monotypic
Javier Tenorio Brenes
Version: 2.0 — Published October 22, 2020

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The Cocos Cuckoo is an uncommon, solitary species endemic to the Isla del Coco, 532 km off of Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean. It is rather bright overall for a cuckoo, peach-colored below and brown above, with a dark gray cap, black eye mask with yellow eye ring, rufous panel in the wings, a long, black tail with white feathers tips, and a black and yellow bill. It is most similar to Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), and has been considered to be only a subspecies of Mangrove Cuckoo by some authors. It inhabits the entirety of the island, from sea level up the cloud forest at 400 m. It is dependent on mature forest, dominated by endemic tree species. It feeds predominately on caterpillars but it is capable of exploiting other food resources, depending upon their availability in different plant communities. Cocos Cuckoo tends to forage in the canopy of forest with a high abundance of bromeliads, where it searches carefully for arthropods, sometimes remaining at one perch for several minutes. Because it is a very stealthy species that rarely vocalizes, and often moves through the forest canopy by jumping silently from branch to branch, it is one of the least frequently detected species on Isla del Coco.

Its breeding biology begins when the rainy season gives way to the dry season (January-mid April). Pairs have been found breeding in four of the seven different plant communities on the island, from riparian vegetation to humid forest at low elevations, and high elevation humid forest. The one or two nestlings are cared for by both parents, who mostly feed them crickets (acridids). Canopy habitats and high native leaf density are necessary for its reproductive success, as well as the abundance of endemic trees. Thereby, the availability of prey is dependent on the humidity characteristic of riparian habitats determines the use of habitat during the breeding cycle.

The Cocos Cuckoo is classified as Vulnerable. Some basic aspects of its biology remain unknown, such as population density and the recruitment rate. It is one of the least studied species of Neotropical cuckoos. Current conservation efforts include long-term studies and permanent monitoring of Cocos Cuckoo to elucidate aspects of its ecology and natural history, and its population status across different plant communities, in order to devise management and conservation strategies.

Distribution of the Cocos Cuckoo
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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Cocos Cuckoo

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