Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Moluccan Cuckoo (Cacomantis aeruginosus)


French: Coucou de Heinrich German: Molukkenkuckuck Spanish: Cuco moluqueño
Other common names: Halmahera Cuckoo (heinrichi), Rusty-breasted Cuckoo (aeruginosus, when lumped with C. variolosus sepulcralis)

Cacomantis aeruginosus


, 1878,



Nominate aeruginosus usually treated as a race of C. variolosus but, based on evidence from Obi (where populations may be separable as obiensis), apparently shares vocalizations of heinrichi#R. Race heinrichi sometimes considered a colour morph of C. variolosus, but is smaller and shorter-winged than sympatric form of latter, with vocalizations recalling aeruginosus rather than variolosus; has been considered a separate species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. heinrichi Stresemann, 1931 – Bacan and Halmahera (N Moluccas).
  • C. a. aeruginosus Salvadori, 1878 – C Moluccas (Obi, Buru, Ambon, Seram); contrary to previous reports, probably not Sula Is#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–23 cm. Adult nominate grey above, wings dark greenish brown, tail black with white tip and whitish to pale rufous bars; dark rufous below, unbarred, chin and throat dark... read more


    Sometimes calls throughout night. Song is a series of several dozen or up to c. 40 whistles, which... read more


    Apparently largely restricted to primary or selectively logged forest, at least on Halmahera (race... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nothing known, although diet and foraging behaviour are presumably similar to those of other apparently closely related Cacomantis.


    Very little known. Race heinrichi in breeding condition early Oct (Halmahera); and a juvenile Cacomantis fed by a pair of... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Occurs within the Northern Maluku EBA. Global population unknown, but suspected to be declining due to ongoing forest clearance and... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Moluccan Cuckoo (Cacomantis aeruginosus). 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 27 January 2020).