Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)


Taxonomy

French: Coucou plaintif German: Klagekuckuck Spanish: Cuco plañidero
Other common names: Rufous-bellied Plaintive Cuckoo
Taxonomy:

Cuculus merulinus

Scopoli

, 1786,

Panay, Philippines

.

Often considered conspecific with C. passerinus. Proposed race subpallidus (Nias) is synonymized with threnodes, and celebensis (Sulawesi) with nominate. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. querulus Heine, 1863 – Assam and Lower Bengal E to S China (including Hainan), and S through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam to N Peninsular Malaysia; some migrate S to peninsular India and SE Asia.
  • C. m. threnodes Cabanis & Heine, 1863 – S Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra (with islands of Nias, Siberut and Enggano) and Borneo.
  • C. m. lanceolatus (S. Müller, 1843) – Java and Bali.
  • C. m. merulinus (Scopoli, 1786) – Sulawesi and Philippines.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–23·5 cm; 19·5–32 g. Adult male nominate has pale grey head, rest of upperparts and wings dark grey and slightly glossed, some rufous on wing-... read more

    Voice

    Very vocal during breeding season, occasionally calling at night, but can be more or less silent at... read more

    Habitat

    Open woodland, secondary forest, lowland rainforest, freshwater and peatswamp forest, mangroves,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly hairy caterpillars (Saturniidae) but also hairless ones (Notodontidae), beetles, bugs, termite soldiers, other soft-bodied... read more

    Breeding

    Breeds May–Jun in Kalimantan, Mar–Sept (peak Jul) in India, May–Jul in Myanmar; fledglings Jun–late Aug, Dec–... read more

    Movements

    Resident and seasonally migratory. In Nepal an occasional visitor or vagrant, late Apr to Aug; in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common throughout most of range, for instance in E India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, SE China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Greater Sundas (especially Java and Bali... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/54810 on 28 July 2017).