Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo (Cercococcyx montanus)


French: Coucou montagnard German: Bergkuckuck Spanish: Cuco colilargo montano
Other common names: Mountain Long-tailed Cuckoo

Cercococcyx montanus


, 1928,

Kalongi (c. 2100 m), Butahu Valley, Rwenzori Range, DRCongo


Closely related to C. olivinus. Race patulus considered by some to be rather poorly differentiated#R, although recent genetic, morphological and migratory evidence suggests that two species may well be involved, but no vocal differences have been documented#R. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. montanus Chapin, 1928 – montane forests of EC Africa from Rwenzori to L Tanganyika.
  • C. m. patulus Friedmann, 1928 – Kenya to E & S Tanzania, Malawi, E Zimbabwe and Mozambique; locally in E Zambia (Mutulanganga and Luangwa Valley) and around middle R Zambezi in N Zimbabwe (Mana Pools)#R, and recorded once in S DRCongo (Gandalijka)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–34 cm; 54 g. Adult dull olive-brown above, feathers with rufous edges, tail long, rectrices broad, tipped white or pale rufous; white below, barred blackish, often... read more


    Song long, 40 sec, starting like whistled “do-you” of C. olivinus or ... read more


    Forest, montane in most areas, in E Africa also riparian and lowland, coastal thickets and forest-... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly hairy caterpillars, taken in foliage of trees; occasionally small snails.


    Few egg dates, apparently breeds in rainy season; in Malawi, calls Dec–Apr, in E Tanzania Sept–Dec. Brood-parasitic: suspected... read more


    Resident, with some altitudinal and middle-distance movements, including nocturnal movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Although this species seems to be uncommon, it is, like its congeners, secretive and generally overlooked, except when singing. Locally common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo (Cercococcyx montanus). 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 25 February 2020).