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Pavonine Cuckoo - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by intervales
Intervales State Park, Brazil, August 2010
Dromococcyx pavoninus


28cm. A small-headed and thin-necked Cuckoo.

  • Rufous crown, face and short crest
  • Buff eye-stripe
  • Black cheeks
  • Dark upperparts with scaly feathers edged white, giving a frosted appearance, wings brown with whitish edges on coverts
  • Brown tail with white tips and broad subterminal black band, graduated
  • Rufous, unspotted throat and breast
  • White belly
  • Bill black above and paler below

Sexes similar. Juveniles are greyer, they have a grey-brown head, a white eye-stripe and a blackish back with some buff-edged feathers. Their throat and breast are greyish.


Found in tropical South America from Venezuela and Guyana through eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru and Bolivia to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina.
Has a patchy and discontinuous distribution, uncommon to rare in its range but probably overlooked due its secretive habits.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Occurs in lowland tropical evergreen forest, in montane forest, scrub thickets, tangled forest with dense secondary woodland, transitional forest and seasonally inundated forest.
From the lowlands up to 1600m, occasionally up to 1900m in Venezuela.


A shy and secretive species.


Feeds on insects. Forages on the ground and in forest understorey.


A brood-parasitic. Parasites tyrant flycatchers and antthrushes. The young of the host disappear after the cuckoo hatches.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. 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

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