Family Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Least Concern

Whistling Yellowbill (Ceuthmochares australis)


French: Malcoha austral German: Osterzkuckuck Spanish: Malcoha africano oriental
Other common names: Green Malkoha

Ceuthmochares australis


, 1873,

KwaZulu Natal, South Africa


Uusually considered conspecific with C. aereus, but differs in dull dark green vs dull dark blue upperparts and tail (3) and yellowish-grey vs whitish-grey chin to breast (2); also major difference in voice#R (3). Monotypic.


Lowlands from SW Ethiopia and S Somalia to Tanzania (including coastal islands), Malawi, Mozambique, E & SE Zimbabwe and coastal E South Africa.

Descriptive notes

33 cm; male 61–79·2 g, female 52–75 g. Large dark cuckoo (appearing blackish in field) with long, graduated tail. Crown and nape dark grey, glossed green, back, wings and... read more


Song in coastal E Africa is series of low-pitched nasal whistles, beginning with “si” notes at rate... read more


Inhabits patches of secondary and gallery forests, especially near edges, and dense second growth,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet (based on stomach contents) mainly Orthoptera and caterpillars (hairy and hairless), but also takes termite alates, beetles, bees,... read more


Season variously reported as Jul–Sept in E Tanzania, usually Oct–Dec in S Africa, Nov–Dec in Malawi, Nov in Zimbabwe, and Nov–Dec in South... read more


Generally resident, but at least some (if not most) birds move away from coasts of Kenya and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Secretive behaviour limits frequency of observations. Locally common in E Africa, where known from protected areas such as Arusha and Tsavo East... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Whistling Yellowbill (Ceuthmochares australis). 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 30 March 2020).