Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Thick-billed Cuckoo (Pachycoccyx audeberti)


French: Coucou d’Audebert German: Dickschnabelkuckuck Spanish: Críalo piquigrueso

Cuculus Audeberti


, 1879,

Ambodikilo, Antongil Bay, Madagascar


S populations (S from Angola, Zambia, Malawi) at times split as race canescens. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. a. brazzae (Oustalet, 1886) – Sierra Leone E patchily through Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon to Congo and W DRCongo.
  • P. a. validus (Reichenow, 1879) – E DRCongo to SE Kenya and Tanzania, and S through Malawi, Zambia, Angola, NE Namibia, N Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to NE South Africa (Mpumalanga).
  • P. a. audeberti (Schlegel, 1879) – Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    36 cm; 115 g. Adult uniform slate-grey above (brown in worn plumage), lores white, wings blackish, tail barred brown and black; white below; narrow eye-ring yellow, iris... read more


    Loud whistled “wheee-wheee-wheep”, like a goshawk (Accipiter); also a chattering “chee-... read more


    Miombo (Brachystegia) woodlands, lowland and riverine forests; more characteristic of rich... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly hairy caterpillars, marula worms, grasshoppers and mantids.


    Breeds Sept–Mar in Zimbabwe; few records elsewhere. Brood-parasitic: hosts Red-billed Helmet-shrike (Prionops retzii), in... read more


    Non-migratory, or with local seasonal movements. In Sudan, possible non-breeding visitor only in S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to rare throughout range, though regular in coastal forest of Kenya and locally in SE Zimbabwe; status uncertain in Sierra Leone, with 1... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Thick-billed Cuckoo (Pachycoccyx audeberti). 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 15 December 2019).