• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Large Hawk-Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo by mohbhorn
Khao Yai NP ,Thailand, March 2008

Alternative name: Brain-fever Bird

Hierococcyx sparverioides


38-40 cm.

  • Brown above
  • Ashy-grey crown, nape and neck
  • Brownish grey and black barred tail
  • Black chin, white throat and rufous breast, throat and breast dark-streaked
  • White belly with blackish bars
  • Yellow eye-ring

Juveniles have barred rufous and brown upperparts, a grey forehead, a white nape, a rufous and black barred tail and have buff underparts streaked with black teardrops.


Juvenile, showing complete plumage detail and colors
Photo by Alok Tewari
Sultanpur National Park, India, January-2011

Breeds in the Himalayas from northern Pakistan and India to Nepal and China (Sichuan and lower Yangtze valley), south to Burma, Thailand and Indochina.
Winters from southern India and Bangladesh to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Greater Sundas and to the Philippines.
Common to fairly common in its range, scarce in Singapore.


This is a monotypic species.
Formerly considered conspecific with Dark Hawk-Cuckoo.
Has formerly been placed in the genus Cuculus.


Found in deciduous and evergreen forests and open forest. On passage and in winter also in mangroves and gardens.
Occurs at 900-2700m in India during breeding season, up to 3000m in Nepal.



Feeds on insects, mainly caterpillars. Takes also berries.
Forages in the canopy, mainly solitary.


Breeding season June to July in the western Himalayas, April to June in Assam. A brood parasitic. Known host species are Laughingthrushes, Streaked Spiderhunter, Lesser Shortwing and Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush. Places one egg in hosts nest.


A migratory species. Subspecies bocki resident.


Click images to see larger version


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334221

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1