Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Large Hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides)


French: Coucou épervier German: Großer Sperberkuckuck Spanish: Cuco grande

Cuculus sparverioïdes


, 1832,



Usually treated as conspecific with H. bocki. Thought to be closer to H. varius, the two forming a clade with H. bocki as sister#R. Monotypic.


Himalayas from N Pakistan and India to Nepal, Naga Hills, Manipur and Meghalaya, thence E to China (Sichuan, N to lower Yellow R valley), Taiwan, and S to Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina. Winters mainly from NE India and Thailand S to S & E India, Peninsular Malaysia, Andaman Is#R, Greater and Lesser Sundas and Philippines.

Descriptive notes

38–40 cm; 116–163 g. The largest hawk-cuckoo. Adult dark morph is brown above, ashy-grey on crown, nape and neck, tail barred brownish grey and black, tipped... read more


In breeding season, calls at dawn and at sunset into night (especially during overcast weather), a... read more


Deciduous and evergreen wooded areas, especially with oaks (or oak-rhododendron in Nepal), also in... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, mainly caterpillars (including hairy species); also Hemiptera, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, bugs, roaches, ants and spiders;... read more


Breeds Apr–Jul in W Himalayas, Apr–Jun in Assam; eggs Apr–May in Myanmar (where vocalizes late Feb–Jun). Brood-... read more


Mainly migratory: most individuals, at least from N of range and over most of China, move S to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common or fairly common breeder in many parts of range, notably Thailand, Nepal and India, and considered abundant in Bhutan, but... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Large Hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides). 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).