Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Cuckooshrike (Coracina papuensis)


French: Échenilleur choucari German: Weißbauch-Raupenfänger Spanish: Oruguero papú

Corvus papuensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Manokwari, Cendrawasi, north-west New Guinea


Form ingens previously treated as a separate species, but genetic analysis#R indicates that it is embedded in present species, wherein it sits at the large end of a size cline. Race robusta also formerly treated as a full species, but seems to fall within range of variation of present species. Birds of race timorlaoensis (Tanimbar Is) sometimes thought to be merely migrants of race hypoleuca#R; further study needed. Birds from N Moluccas sometimes separated as race melanolora, but not satisfactorily distinguishable from nominate. Australian races intergrade; proposed race stalkeri (E Australia) invalid, as refers to intergrade population in N & C Queensland, and therefore included in oriomo. Some recent authors#R have synonymized intermedia with nominate race and oriomo with angustifrons. When Lalage melaschistos placed in present genus, subspecies name intermedia becomes invalid as result of secondary homonymy; race intermedia then takes name rothschildi#R. Name angustifrons normally attributed to Sharpe, but Salvadori’s description dates to Oct 1876 and Sharpe’s to Dec 1876; although Salvadori credits the name to Sharpe, this does not fulfil Art. 50.1.1 of the ICZN Code, so Salvadori is the author; both descriptions are thin, but sufficient. Fifteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. ingens (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1914) – Manus Cuckooshrike – Admiralty Is (Manus, Los Negros).
  • C. p. papuensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Papuan Cuckooshrike – N Moluccas (Morotai and Halmahera S to Obi), West Papuan Is (Kofiau, Gebe, Salawati, Misool, Batanta), W & N New Guinea (including Yapen I), Lesser Sundas (Kisar, Luang, Sermata) and Kai Is.
  • C. p. timorlaoensis (A. B. Meyer, 1884) – Tanimbar Is.
  • C. p. angustifrons (Salvadori, 1876) – C to SE New Guinea.
  • C. p. intermedia Rothschild, 1931 – SC New Guinea.
  • C. p. louisiadensis (E. J. O. Hartert, 1898) – Louisiade Archipelago.
  • C. p. sclaterii (Salvadori, 1878) – Bismarck Archipelago.
  • C. p. perpallida Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1916 – N Solomon Is (Bougainville, Choiseul, Santa Isabel, Florida).
  • C. p. elegans (E. P. Ramsay, 1881) – C & S Solomons (New Georgia Is S to Guadalcanal).
  • C. p. eyerdami Mayr, 1931 – Malaita I (SE Solomons).
  • C. p. oriomo Mayr & Rand, 1936 – S New Guinea (Trans-Fly region), islands in Torres Strait and NE Australia (Cape York Peninsula).
  • C. p. apsleyi Mathews, 1912 – coastal N Australia (Melville I, Cobourg Peninsula and shores of Van Diemen Gulf).
  • C. p. hypoleuca (Gould, 1848) – coastal N Australia (Kimberley E to Gulf of Carpentaria); non-breeding (probably this race) also in Kai Is and Aru Is.
  • C. p. artamoides Schodde & Mason, 1999 – E Australia (NE Queensland S to NE New South Wales).
  • C. p. robusta (Latham, 1801) – White-bellied Cuckooshrike – coastal SE Australia; non-breeding N to New South Wales and S Queensland.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–29 cm; 55–80 g. Male nominate race has head, upperparts and upperwing-coverts pale grey, paler on rump and uppertail-coverts; black from lores to just behind... read more


    Weak, squealing, slurred repeated “whee-eeyu” or “wee-yeer”, rather like... read more


    Inhabits many vegetation types, including woodland, savanna, eucalypt (Eucalyptus) forest... read more

    Food and feeding

    Eats mainly larger insects, including dragonflies (Odonata), cockroaches (Blattodea), mantids (Mantodea), grasshoppers (Orthoptera), bugs (... read more


    Recorded in all months except Jul, in Australia; Aug, Oct, Dec–Jan and Mar–Jun in S New Guinea (Port Moresby region). Nest... read more


    Mainly resident or sedentary. Locally nomadic in Australia during dry winter season, when... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In Australia locally common to rare, and abundant in urban areas of tropics; generally common to very common in New Guinea; common and widespread in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2019). White-bellied Cuckooshrike (Coracina papuensis). 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 13 November 2019).