Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Levaillant's Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii)


French: Coucou de Levaillant German: Kapkuckuck Spanish: Críalo listado
Other common names: African Striped Cuckoo

Coccyzus levaillantii


, 1829,



Formerly listed as C. cafer, but that name was in fact applicable instead to Cuculus clamosus. Present species and C. jacobinus sometimes placed in separate genus Oxylophus, owing to differences from current congeners in plumage and wing shape. Monotypic.


Africa S of Sahara, breeding from Sahel to E & S Africa. In non-breeding season ranges to C Africa and coastal W Africa.

Descriptive notes

39 cm; male 106–140 g, female 102–141 g. Adult glossy black above, glossed greenish or bluish, with black crest, white patch on black wings and white tips to all... read more


Ringing “kuwu-weer, kuwu-weer...” often ending with rapid “kwi'kwi'kwi... read more


Open woodland, wooded Acacia savanna, thickets, gardens, old farms, riverine forest, scrub... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, mainly hairy and spiny caterpillars, also winged termites and ants, beetle larvae, locusts and grasshoppers, but berries, tree... read more


Breeds mainly in rains, but especially in S of range breeding may extend into dry season: in Gambia Jun–Nov, in Sierra Leone Sept, in... read more


Intra-African migrant; seasonal in S Africa (present mainly Oct–Mar, but return northbound... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally not uncommon throughout range. Common and conspicuous parasitic cuckoo in Gambia and the upper R Niger in Mali during the... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Levaillant's Cuckoo (Clamator levaillantii). 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).