Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo (Cercococcyx mechowi)


French: Coucou de Mechow German: Schweifkuckuck Spanish: Cuco colilargo oscuro

Cercococcyx Mechowi


, 1882,



Populations of W Africa (SW Cameroon westwards) may represent a separate taxon, as they apparently differ vocally from those from S & E of range; although it has been suggested that there is a zone of parapatry around the Cameroon mountains#R, evidence shows R Sanaga as the dividing zone#R. Both forms have same two song types, which are deeper and more homogeneous in W birds, but with high-pitched tone in S & E birds; evidence suggests that each form consistently maintains same song type, and a playback experiment in Ghana showed local birds totally indifferent to "wrong" song type. W birds may be smaller#R. Name "occidentalis" has been attached to this form#R#R, but the name has never been formally proposed and is therefore not available at present#R. Monotypic.


Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo E through Nigeria, Cameroon, SW Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo to E DRCongo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and NW Tanzania (Minziro Forest Reserve)#R, and S to C DRCongo and NW Angola.

Descriptive notes

31–34 cm; 55 g. Adult dark grey above, flight-feathers barred rufous, tail long, rectrices broad, tipped white or pale rufous; wing about 75% of tail length; black... read more


(1) Whistle of 3 emphatic notes, “tu-tu-to”, on same or slightly rising pitch, accent... read more


Lowland mature forest, especially lower levels and dense undergrowth, often near watercourses.

Food and feeding

Insects, especially caterpillars, most hairy; also beetles, ants, spiders, small snails and seeds.


Breeds during rains; calls Apr–Dec near Kagoro, Nigeria; gonads enlarged Dec–Feb in Cameroon; apparent laying Nov and Jan in NE... read more


Resident. Extent of seasonal wandering unknown.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. In general, not reckoned to be rare, though apparently uncommon in Nigeria; not uncommon in Sierra Leone. This is an elusive species, difficult to... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo (Cercococcyx mechowi). 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).