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

42 cm; 80 g. Adult washed rufous above, primaries same colour as back, tail long with broad white tips, throat white, breast grey, belly rufous; bare skin around eye red,... read more


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


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

Food and feeding

Small lizards, large spiders, large insects (stick insects). Forages in middle storey and canopy. Often lifts bits of loose bark off trees... read more


Breeding records in Apr, May, Sept, Nov and Dec. Nest a loose platform of sticks and leaves. Eggs 2–3, pale blue with a thin white... read more



Status and conservation

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

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2017). 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 20 November 2017).