Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Puerto Rican Lizard-cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti)


French: Tacco de Porto Rico German: Puerto-Rico-Kuckuck Spanish: Cuco lagartero puertorriqueño

Saurothera vieilloti


, 1850,



This species and C. merlini (with C. bahamensis), C. vetula and C. longirostris were previously placed together in Saurothera, but recent molecular analysis found that genus to be embedded within Coccyzus#R. Has been considered conspecific with C. vetula and C. longirostris. Monotypic.


Puerto Rico; formerly also on nearby Vieques I#R.

Descriptive notes

40–48 cm; male 74·5–83·4 g, female 87·9–110·5 g, unsexed 68–104 g. Adult washed rufous above, primaries same colour as... read more


As congeners, an emphatic “ka-ka-ka-ka...” gradually accelerating and becoming louder,... read more


Tropical deciduous forest, tropical lowland evergreen forest; woodland, coffee plantations, brush-... read more

Food and feeding

Small lizards (anoles), large spiders, large insects (stick insects, cicadas, moths, beetles, earwigs, grasshoppers) and caterpillars.... read more


Breeding records involving nestbuilding in Feb, Apr, May, Sept, Nov and Dec, with recently fledged young in Sept; thus breeding perhaps... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very limited range, within which species appears to be generally common to fairly common, but locally rare, in wooded areas.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Puerto Rican Lizard-cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti). 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 8 December 2019).