Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii)


French: Coucou de Sonnerat German: Sonneratkuckuck Spanish: Cuco bayo

Cuculus Sonneratii


, 1790,

North Cachar Hills, India


Sometimes placed in monotypic genus Penthoceryx; alternatively, included in Cuculus by some authors. Sumatra, Borneo and Palawan population previously given new name schlegeli, as fasciolatus was then thought to be a synonym of musicus; this belief, however, recently shown to be erroneous#R#R. Proposed race malayanus (Peninsular Malaysia) is synonymized with nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. sonneratii (Latham, 1790) – India, Nepal and Bhutan through Bangladesh and Myanmar to S China (Yunnan), Thailand and Indochina, and Peninsular Malaysia; recorded also in SW Guangxi (Nonggang National Natural Reserve)#R, in S China.
  • C. s. waiti (E. C. S. Baker, 1919) – Sri Lanka.
  • C. s. fasciolatus (S. Müller, 1843) – Sumatra, Borneo, and Palawan (SW Philippines).
  • C. s. musicus (Ljungh, 1804) – Java; also recorded in Bali#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–24 cm; 27·9–34·9 g. Adult bright rufous or bay above, barred with brown, whitish supercilium, white line under eye, tail rufous with subterminal... read more


    A shrill rhythmic 4-note “smoke-yer-pepper”, faster and more plaintive than in ... read more


    Open or dense broadleaf forest, deciduous and evergreen, forest edge, secondary scrub, cultivated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, especially caterpillars (Pieridae, Notodontidae, Arctiidae), but also bugs and grasshoppers.


    Breeding season in India varies with that of its hosts, Feb–Aug; in Sri Lanka young in Jun and Oct; in Malaysia sings Jan–May.... read more


    Resident in SE Asia, e.g. in Borneo, Thailand and Malay Peninsula, but partially migratory in India... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common or fairly common in much of its range, for example in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia and Greater Sundas, but uncommon in Nepal and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii). 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 28 January 2020).