Dusky long-tailed cuckoo

The dusky long-tailed cuckoo (Cercococcyx mechowi) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is found in forests in Central Africa. The IUCN has assessed it as a least-concern species.

Dusky long-tailed cuckoo
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Genus: Cercococcyx
C. mechowi
Binomial name
Cercococcyx mechowi
Cabanis, 1882


The species was described by Jean Cabanis in 1882.[2] It is monotypic.[3] The specific epithet mechowi honours Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander von Mechow, a Prussian explorer.[4] The name occidentalis for a population with different songs is a nomen nudum.[5]


The dusky long-tailed cuckoo is about 33 cm (13 in) long and weighs 50–61 g (1.8–2.2 oz). The head, nape and upperparts are dark brown, washed sooty-grey and with a purple-blue iridescence. The wings are dark brown, with buff and white spots. The underparts are white, with blackish-brown bars, and the vent is buff. The tail is long and graduated. The eyes are dark brown, the beak is greenish-black and the feet are yellow. The male and female are alike. The juvenile bird has a blackish throat and rufous bars on its upperparts. The nestling's skin is black, and it has a yellow rump and pale feet.[3]

Distribution and habitatEdit

This cuckoo has a discontinuous distribution[3] and is found in Angola, most of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Tanzania,and Uganda.[1] Populations west of the Bakossi Mountains, in northwestern Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo, are now considered a distinct species, the whistling long-tailed cuckoo (C. lemaireae) due to their differing calls.[6] Its habitat is forests, preferring ones with dense undergrowth and lianas. It also occurs in tall secondary forests and forests along rivers.[3]


The dusky long-tailed cuckoo is often found in the undergrowth or mid-canopy. It eats caterpillars, ants, beetles, spiders, snails and seeds and joins mixed-species foraging flocks. Pairs often call from treetops.[3] Its calls include hu hee wheeu and a series of notes that accelerates and then slows and descends.[7] This cuckoo is a brood parasite. The blue-headed crested flycatcher, brown illadopsis and possibly the forest robin have been observed as hosts. Its breeding may be associated with the wet season.[3]


The species does not appear to have substantial threats, and its population appears stable. The IUCN has assessed it as a least-concern species.[1]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2016). "Cercococcyx mechowi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22683905A93006661. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22683905A93006661.en.
  2. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Turacos, bustards, cuckoos, mesites, sandgrouse". World Bird List Version 9.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Erritzøe, Johannes; Mann, Clive F.; Brammer, Frederik; Fuller, Richard A. (2012). Cuckoos of the World. A&C Black. pp. 414–415. ISBN 9781408142677.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. Bloomsbury. p. 244. ISBN 9781408133262.
  5. ^ Dowsett, Robert J.; Dowsett-Lemaire, Françoise (2015). "The status of the name 'occidentalis Chappuis' for the Dusky Long-tailed Cuckoo Cercococcyx mechowi" (PDF). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 135 (3): 352–353.
  6. ^ Collar, N. J.; Boesman, Peter (June 2019). "Two undescribed species of bird from West Africa". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 139 (2): 147–159. doi:10.25226/bboc.v139i2.2019.a7. ISSN 0007-1595.
  7. ^ Borrow, Nik; Demey, Ron (2013). Field Guide to the Birds of Ghana. Bloomsbury. p. 138. ISBN 9781408189023.