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

40 cm; 95 g. Adult greyish above, forehead to nape dark brown, wings with rufous patch formed by primaries, throat whitish, below rufous, paler on undertail-coverts; tail... 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

Lizards, caterpillars, locusts, nestling birds. Forages in middle storey and canopy.


Courtship feeding and copulation observed in Oct. Nest a flat platform of twigs, lined with leaves, in a tangle of branches, twigs and... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread within limited range of Jamaica, but generally uncommon. Compared with its congeners, relatively little is known about this species, and... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2017). 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 20 November 2017).