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Great Spotted Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Stephen Powell
Kruger Nat Park, South Africa, November 2010
Clamator glandarius


Photo © by mikemik
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, May 2018

35–39 cm (13¾-15¼ in). Tail long and wedge-shaped.

  • Pale silvery-grey crown and crest
  • Upperparts are grey with an abundance of white spots
  • Chin and throat are yellowy-white
  • Belly creamy-white


  • Black on upperparts where adult is grey
  • Rufous on primaries


Photo © by sdaly
near La Janda, Cadiz province, Andalucia, Spain, February 2006

Europe, Middle East and Africa:
In Africa resident breeder from just south of the Sahara to Zambia and Mozambique (avoiding areas with rainforest); summer migrant to Southern Africa.
In Middle East summer migrant to Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Israel, and Egypt.
In Europe summer visitor to Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy, and eastern Greece.

Vagrants occasionally venture elsewhere in Europe, including the British Isles.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Breeds in heathland with occasional trees, Cork Oak Quercus suber being a favourite in Iberia. Also Olive Olea europaea groves.



Direct flight, much stronger than Common Cuckoo. The trailing tail makes the outline distinctive.
Adopts Eurasian Magpie-like postures during the breeding season.
Hops on the ground


It's diet consists mainly of insects.


It parasitises nests of the crow family (in Europe mainly the two species of magpies), and may lay several eggs in the same nest. In southern Africa the most common hosts are Pied Crow, Cape Crow and Pied Starling. In western Europe is a very early breeder, the adults have left the region by early June.



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birds of Kenya
  3. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
  4. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  5. Beaman, M., S. Madge, K.M. Olsen. 1998. Fuglene i Europa, Nordafrika og Mellemøsten. Copenhagen, Denmark: Gads Forlag, ISBN 87-12-02276-4
  6. Birdlife International datazone

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