Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta)


French: Petit Piaye German: Rötelkuckuck Spanish: Cuco ardilla menor

Coccyzus minutus


, 1817,



Previously placed in Piaya, but molecular data indicate it belongs in present genus#R. Race chaparensis often included in nominate; proposed race barinensis (W Venezuela) included in nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. panamensis (Todd, 1912) – E Panama and N Colombia W of Gulf of Urabá (S to NW Antioquia).
  • C. m. gracilis (Heine, 1863) – Colombia W of Andes and in Cauca and Magdalena Valleys, and W Ecuador.
  • C. m. minuta (Vieillot, 1817) – lowland Colombia E of Andes, Venezuela and the Guianas S to Amazonian Peru and SC Brazil (Goiás, Mato Grosso); Trinidad.
  • C. m. chaparensis (Cherrie, 1916) – N Bolivia (S to Cochabamba and Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; 40 g. Adult chestnut above, throat and breast rufous-chestnut, belly dark buffy-grey, tail with white terminal spots; eye-ring red, iris red, bill greyish yellow with... read more


    Harsh clucks, “tchek”, like a tree frog; sharp “quienk”, a nasal chattering... read more


    Inhabits tropical lowland evergreen forest edge, secondary forest, clearings, mature mangroves,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including caterpillars, wasps, beetles, bugs, flies, also spiders. Forages in understorey to mid-storey.


    Eggs Jun–Sept in Surinam; in French Guiana, fledgling recently out of nest in early Mar. Nest an open, deep twig cup in thick shrubs... read more


    Not known. Considered resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rather limited information available about relative abundance: species is uncommon to fairly common throughout much of range; local in Colombia.

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Little Cuckoo (Coccycua minuta). 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 13 December 2019).