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Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo Coccyzus vieilloti

  • Order: Cuculiformes
  • Family: Cuculidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Sarah W. Kendrick
Sections

A creature true to its name, the Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti) consumes mostly lizards and is an island endemic. The Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo is more commonly heard than seen due to its harsh, repetitive call that can be heard across Puerto Rico. The medium-sized cuckoo skulks about the dense foliage of wooded areas like Guánica Dry Forest, but also inhabits coffee plantations, mountainous forests (though it is more common below 900 m), and wet forests along the coast. Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoos are similar in appearance to the Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), which occurs in the island lowland forest, and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), which can be found on the island during summer months. However, the longer bill of the Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo, its bright red eye-ring, and the difference in voice make these species fairly easy to distinguish.

Local names for the cuckoo include pájaro bobo mayor, "big ape bird"” (regional slang), probably due to the similarity between the repetition of the bird’s voice and that of a monkey, and pájaro de lluvia or pájaro de agua ("rain bird"), since the raucous call is believed to forecast the rain (Raffaele et al. 1998, Bond 1971).

Little is known about the biology and behavior of the Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo; research opportunities abound concerning this striking and distinctive endemic.

Calls

© Daniel Lane

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Kendrick, S. W. (2010). Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo (Coccyzus vieilloti), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.purlic1.01