Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)


Rufous-vented Ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus geoffroyi)


French: Géocoucou de Geoffroy German: Geoffroygrundkuckuck Spanish: Cuco hormiguero ventrirrufo
Other common names: Scaled Ground-cuckoo (squamiger)

Coccyzus geoffroyi


, 1820,

Rio Jaguaripe, Bahia, Brazil


Type locality previously given as Pará, but recently shown to be Bahia#R; thus, Pará population, hitherto listed as nominate, adopts name amazonicus, while Bahia population, previously known as maximiliani, takes name geoffroyi. Race squamiger sometimes treated as a full species but this seems inappropriate, as its range sits inside mosaic of ranges of other races, and evidence for split seems weak; major plumage difference involves reduced or non-existent lower black breast-line, but similar absence noted extralimitally#R, and it has recently been speculated as a possible feature of the still unknown juvenile plumage of geoffroyi#R; geographical variation largely clinal, and populations intergrade. Seven subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. g. salvini P. L. Sclater, 1866 – Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Pacific coast of Colombia.
  • N. g. aequatorialis Chapman, 1923 – S Colombia (W Caquetá) S to E Ecuador and N Peru (NW Loreto).
  • N. g. australis Carriker, 1935 – SE Peru and NW Bolivia (La Paz).
  • N. g. amazonicus Pinto, 1964 – C & E Amazonian Brazil S of Amazon (R Madeira E to N Maranhão).
  • N. g. geoffroyi (Temminck, 1820) – E Brazil (Bahia)#R.
  • N. g. squamiger Todd, 1925 – C Brazil S of Amazon (lower R Tapajós area).
  • N. g. dulcis E. Snethlage, 1927 – SE Brazil (Espírito Santo to Rio de Janeiro).
  • Descriptive notes

    50 cm; c. 340–349 g. Race salvini bronzy-brown above, glossed green on wings, crest black, forehead buff to cinnamon-brown, breast with dusky semicircular... read more


    Loud bill-clapping; soft dove-like moaning “oooooo-oóp”, low “woof”... read more


    Tropical lowland evergreen forests, high-ground forest, also transitional forest with seasonal... read more

    Food and feeding

    Large insects, scorpions, centipedes, spiders, small frogs, lizards, occasionally seeds and fruit. Terrestrial, wary and agile; runs and... read more


    Breeds in northern summer or wet season as far S as N Colombia, where oviduct egg in Apr; in southern summer in SE Brazil. Nest a broad... read more



    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. A rare and local, solitary species which requires large blocks of natural forest. Population density 0·25 pairs/100 ha in floodplain forest in Amazonian... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Rufous-vented Ground-cuckoo (Neomorphus geoffroyi). 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 11 December 2019).