Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Moluccan Drongo-cuckoo (Surniculus musschenbroeki)


French: Coucou des Moluques German: Molukken-Drongokuckuck Spanish: Cuclillo drongo moluqueño

Surniculus musschenbroeki

A. B. Meyer

, 1878,



Closely related to S. dicruroides, S. lugubris and S. velutinus, with which commonly considered conspecific, but evidence assembled by recent authors#R#R indicates that it differs in distinct song (allow 3); velvety purplish-black vs glossy head and mantle of lugubris and dicruroides (2); longer tail than lugubris and dicruroides (1) and much longer tail than velutinus, based on published data#R (effect size 2.98; score 2); more barring on undertail and undertail-coverts (2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Sulawesi and Butung E to Obi, Bacan and Halmahera (N Moluccas).

Descriptive notes

23 cm. Could be confused with any sympatric species of drongo (Dicrurus), but note relatively small-headed appearance and cuckoo-like bill, as well as more direct... read more


Loud clear whistles rising up the scale, “one, two, three, four, five, six”; often calls at night.... read more


Occurs in wooded savannas and forest on ultra-basic rock, primarily in hill and disturbed forests... read more

Food and feeding

Diet is presumably mainly insects like previously conspecific S. lugubris and S. dicruroides, but no specific information... read more


Effectively unknown, as hosts are presently unrecorded. On Sulawesi, song has been heard in N of island in Mar, Apr and Sept, and display... read more


Presumably resident and sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Like many other forest birds, this species is subject to the effects of widespread habitat destruction throughout its range. It is reportedly very... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Moluccan Drongo-cuckoo (Surniculus musschenbroeki). 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 26 January 2020).