Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Ground-cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus)


French: Géocoucou de Lesson German: Drosselkuckuck Spanish: Cuclillo bobo

Coccyzus erythropyga


, 1842,

San Carlos, Central America


Proposed races dilutus (W Mexico) and simulans (Guerrero, in SW Mexico) are synonyms of mexicanus, and macrourus (Guatemala) is subsumed within nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. e. mexicanus Ridgway, 1915 – Pacific slope of tropical W Mexico from S Sinaloa S to Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
  • M. e. erythropygus (Lesson, 1842) – S Mexico (hills of E Oaxaca E to Chiapas) S to NW Costa Rica, and also arid interior valleys on Caribbean slope of Guatemala and Honduras.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–28 cm; male 53·1–70·5 g, female 56–86·8 g. Adult greyish brown above, with bronzy reflections on wings and long tail, rufous below;... read more


    A mellow whistle, “teeeee”; a clear trilled whistled series with notes lower and more... read more


    Arid lowland scrub, tropical deciduous forest edge in semi-arid scrub and woodland, thorny thickets... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly grasshoppers. Forages in understorey, also on bare ground, at edges of cultivation; walks or hops among leaves on ground... read more


    Breeds May in S Mexico (Oaxaca), Jul in Guatemala. Nest a shallow bowl of sticks and leaf petioles and rachises, lined with dead leaves, on... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Few details available, but species is reckoned to be generally fairly common, and habitat not thought to be under serious threat at present; species... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Lesser Ground-cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus). 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 14 December 2019).