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Banded Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus radiolosus

  • Order: Cuculiformes
  • Family: Cuculidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Janice M. Hughes
  • © Glenn Bartley

The genus Neomorphus is well known for being rare, elusive and spectacular, and none embodies these aspects more than Banded Ground-Cuckoo. This species is a resident of primary rainforest in the Chocó Ecoregion of extreme northwestern Ecuador and southwestern Colombia, and is currently designated as Endangered due to the widespread and accelerating loss of its preferred habitat. Banded Ground-Cuckoo frequently follows swarms of army ants with mixed-species flocks of birds. It has been named correlona, meaning “fast runner,” by indigenous Awá hunters, a mane well-describes the erratic zig-zag sprinting that this cuckoo sometimes uses while foraging for arthropods. However, Banded Ground-Cuckoo is legendarily difficult to see because it also spends much of its day sitting very still on the ground or on low perches in dense vegetation. As such, it is often detected first by its rising, hollow ventriloqual call that sounds much farther away than it actually is. Banded Ground-Cuckoo also frequently makes a snapping sound, which it produces by clapping the mandibles together. Mated pairs of cuckoos use this call to remain in contact with one another when they are foraging out of visual contact. Banded Ground-Cuckoo was known only from a few scattered records until a small population was discovered at Estación Biológica Jatun Sacha Bilsa in Ecuador in 1998, where its breeding and behavior has been observed with some regularity ever since. Nonetheless, much of the list history of this species still remains a mystery. Indeed, Banded Ground-Cuckoo is among the rarest, least known and, unfortunately, most endangered birds in the Chocó Ecoregion.

Audio needed
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Hughes, J. M. (2017). Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.