Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)


French: Coucou à ailes courtes German: Kurzflügelkuckuck Spanish: Cuco alicorto

Cuculus micropterus


, 1838,



Proposed races ognevi (Ussuriland) and fatidicus (Assam) are regarded as synonymous with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. micropterus Gould, 1838 – Kashmir and Himalayan foothills S through India to Sri Lanka, and E through Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and N Indochina to E & NE China (including Hainan), Korea and Russian Far East; winters S to Andaman and Nicobar Is, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Philippines.
  • C. m. concretus S. Müller, 1845 – S Indochina and Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, Java and Borneo.
  • Descriptive notes

    32–34 cm; 119 g. Adult male dark slate-grey above, back tinged brownish, tail barred white at sides and with broad black subterminal band; pale ashy and white below... read more


    Loud, flute-like, hollow 4-note whistle, final note lower-pitched, “orange-pekoe” or... read more


    Deciduous and evergreen forests, second growth, dry country. Lowlands to hills at 2000 m, sometimes... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly hairy caterpillars, also butterflies, grasshoppers, ants; fruit. Forages in high canopy, but sometimes feeds on ground.


    Calls May–Jul in India, Jan–May in Sri Lanka, Jan–Aug in Malaysia. Brood-parasitic: hosts in India drongos, e.g. Black... read more


    Resident in S part of range. Summer visitor in N of range and in most of temperate Asia; passage... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout year in Thailand; widespread in Myanmar, where it appears to be more numerous in the higher hills. Uncommon in Sumatra and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus). 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).