Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Violet Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus)


French: Coucou violet German: Amethystkuckuck Spanish: Cuclillo violeta

Cuculus xanthorhynchus


, 1821,



Thought to be closest to C. maculatus#R. Birds from Banggi I (N Borneo) sometimes split as race bangueyensis; birds of Andamans may represent a distinct race#R. Proposed race limborgi (S Myanmar) regarded as synonymous with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. x. xanthorhynchus (Horsfield, 1821) – NE India, SE Bhutan#R and NE Bangladesh#R E to Myanmar, SC China (Yunnan), Thailand and Indochina, and S through Andamans, Nicobars, and Malay Peninsula to Greater Sundas and SW Philippines (Palawan).
  • C. x. amethystinus (Vigors, 1831) – Philippines (Luzon, Mindoro, Catanduanes, Samar, Cebu, Leyte#R, Mindanao, Basilan).
  • Descriptive notes

    16 cm; 21 g. Adult male glossy violet above and on head, tail blackish with white tip, outer feathers barred; chin to upper breast bright violet, belly white with broad black... read more


    A “che-wick”, often in flight; also shrill descending trill preceded by a triple note... read more


    Secondary evergreen forests, deciduous forest, forest edge, orchards, gardens, mangroves, rubber... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including caterpillars, flies, ants, beetles; also fruit. Creeps up and down branches, also flycatches; usually perches motionless. read more


    Brood-parasitic: hosts in India thought to be mainly sunbirds (Aethopyga) and spiderhunters (Arachnothera). Eggs unknown.


    Resident or migratory. N populations including those in Assam and Bangladesh, appear to be... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Vulnerable to deforestation throughout its range. In breeding season, widespread but scarce in Myanmar, and uncommon in Thailand; reportedly not... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Violet Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus). 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 17 February 2020).