Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

African Cuckoo-hawk (Aviceda cuculoides)


French: Baza coucou German: Kuckucksweih Spanish: Baza africano
Other common names: African Baza

Aviceda cuculoides


, 1837,



Appears to be closely related to A. madagascariensis, and possibly also to A. jerdoni and A. subcristata. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. c. cuculoides Swainson, 1837 – woodland from Senegal E to SW Ethiopia and S to Nigeria and N DRCongo.
  • A. c. batesi (Swann, 1920) – lowland rainforest from Sierra Leone E to E Uganda and S to N Angola.
  • A. c. verreauxii Lafresnaye, 1846 – woodland and coastal, riparian and montane forest from Somalia S to Angola, N Botswana and South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    38–43 cm; 220–296 g; wingspan 85–95 cm. Perches horizontally on short legs, often with wings slightly drooped. Small nuchal crest and rufous patch at all... read more


    Often silent. Main call is a plaintive mewing “peee-ooo” or “tohew”, somewhat Buteo-like... read more


    Interior and edges of evergreen, riparian and coastal forest; patches of dense deciduous woodland;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Lizards, especially chameleons, and large insects, including grasshoppers, mantids and caterpillars. Also beetles, wasps, termite alates,... read more


    Mainly in rainy season. Nest building late Oct, copulation Nov in Gabon. Laying Jun–Jul in Sierra Leone; Jun in Nigeria; Feb in Gabon... read more


    Resident in most areas but some seasonal movement into coastal Kenya to breed in Apr–Nov and... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. No information on nesting density or global population size, but on basis of large range numbers likey exceed 10,000.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C., Marks, J.S. & Boesman, P. (2020). African Cuckoo-hawk (Aviceda cuculoides). 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 on 27 February 2020).