Lesser Ground-Cuckoo Morococcyx erythropygus

  • Order: Cuculiformes
  • Family: Cuculidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Carlos A. Soberanes-González, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Marîa del Coro Arizmendi, Guy M. Kirwan, and Thomas S. Schulenberg


Geographic Variation

Two subspecies usually recognized:

mexicanus Ridgway 1915

Occurs in western Mexico north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Similar to nominate erythropygus, but "larger and paler, the upper parts averaging more grayish olive, the under parts varying from cinnamon-ochraceous to dull light ochraceous-buff or even pale buff; under surface of tail, however, darker, showing, on lateral rectrices, less contrast between the grayish brown of proximal and blackish of sub-terminal portions" (Ridgway 1916: 73).

erythropyus (Lesson 1842).

Occurs from southern Mexico, south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, south to northwestern Costa Rica.

See Detailed Description.

Related Species

Based on a phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data, Sorenson and Payne (2005) divide the cuckoos into five subfamilies, two of which (Crotophaginae and Neomorphinae) are endemic to the New World and one of which is global in distribution (Cuculinae). Morococcyx is a member of the Neomorphinae, within which it is basal to Geococcyx (roadrunners) and to Neomorphus (ground-cuckoos) (Sorenson and Payne 2005).

Recommended Citation

Soberanes-González, C. A., C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, M. d. C. Arizmendi, G. M. Kirwan, and T. S. Schulenberg (2013). Lesser Ground-Cuckoo (Morococcyx erythropygus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.legcuc1.01