Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Madagascar Cuckoo (Cuculus rochii)


French: Coucou de Madagascar German: Madagaskarkuckuck Spanish: Cuco malgache
Other common names: Madagascar Lesser Cuckoo

Cuculus rochii


, 1863,

Tamatave, Madagascar


Has been thought to be closely related to C. poliocephalus, of which sometimes considered a race. Recent mtDNA phylogeny, however, found that present species is closest to C. gularis, the two being a sister-clade to C. canorus and C. saturatus#R. Monotypic.


Madagascar. Migrates to E Africa.

Descriptive notes

26–28 cm; 64–65 g (two males). Smaller than both C. canorus and C. gularis. Adult, sexes alike, rufous morph unknown; slate-grey above, tail and... read more


Four (sometimes three) evenly spaced, mellow notes, "ho-ho-ho-hu" or "cuck-cuck-ooo... read more


Forest, including introduced eucalyptus plantations, gallery forest, scrub woodland, spiny... read more

Food and feeding

Insects, e.g. hairy caterpillars. Prey is taken from leaves and branches, but occasionally from ground; sometimes joins mixed-species... read more


Breeding season Aug–Apr (egg records). Brood-parasitic: hosts Madagascar Cisticola (Cisticola cherina; ten of c. 210... read more


Migratory. Most of the population moves in non-breeding season from Madagascar NW to Africa, where... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). No precise data on abundance from breeding range in Madagascar, but commonly heard in wide range of habitats, from E rainforest to... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Madagascar Cuckoo (Cuculus rochii). 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 9 December 2019).