Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Black-bellied Cuckoo (Piaya melanogaster)


French: Piaye à ventre noir German: Schwarzbauchkuckuck Spanish: Cuco ardilla ventrinegro

Cuculus melanogaster


, 1817,

Java; error = Cayenne


Birds from SE Peru described as race ochracea, but considered insufficiently distinct to warrant recognition. Monotypic.


SE Colombia, E Venezuela and the Guianas S to E Ecuador, E Peru, N Bolivia and SC Brazil (Amazonia S to Mato Grosso).

Descriptive notes

38 cm; 102 g. Adult rufous-chestnut above with light grey cap, throat and breast orange-buff, becoming black on abdomen and undertail-coverts, tail rufous with subterminal... read more


Song a loud “jjit, jjit-jjit-jjit”; scratchy descending “yaaaaa”, also a... read more


Tropical lowland evergreen forest, absent from coastal region; also occurs in shrubby growth away... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, including grasshoppers, katydids, caterpillars, beetles and ants. At two nests, incidental observations revealed that nestlings... read more


Two nests (both on an island in a river) with young being fed recorded in French Guiana in Aug and Nov , respectively. Both were open... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally uncommon and relatively little known. Despite occurrence in shrubby vegetation, species is reckoned to be sensitive to... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-bellied Cuckoo (Piaya melanogaster). 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 17 February 2020).