Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo (Coccyzus vetula)


French: Tacco de Jamaïque German: Jamaikakuckuck Spanish: Cuco lagartero jamaicano

Cuculus Vetula


, 1758,



This species and C. merlini (with C. bahamensis), C. longirostris and C. vieilloti were previously placed together in Saurothera, but recent molecular analysis found that genus to be embedded within Coccyzus#R. Both C. longirostris and C. vieilloti have been considered races of present species. Monotypic.



Descriptive notes

38–40 cm; 86–104·6 g. Adult greyish above, forehead to nape dark brown, wings with rufous patch formed by primaries, throat whitish, below rufous, paler on... read more


Rapid, low “cak-cak-cak-ka-ka-ka-k-k”.


Tropical lowland evergreen forests, possibly also tropical deciduous ones; wooded areas and semi-... read more

Food and feeding

Anolis lizards, caterpillars, cicadas, mantids, locusts, mice, nestling birds; rarely tree-frogs. Forages in midstorey and canopy. read more


Season generally Mar–Aug. Courtship feeding and copulation observed in Oct. Nest a flat platform of twigs, lined with leaves, in a... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread within limited range of Jamaica, but generally uncommon. Compared with its congeners, relatively little is known about... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Jamaican Lizard-cuckoo (Coccyzus vetula). 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).