Scaled Ground-Cuckoo Neomorphus squamiger

  • Order: Cuculiformes
  • Family: Cuculidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Janice M. Hughes
  • © Jorge Lopes

Scaled Ground-Cuckoo is a rare, local, and elusive resident of a small region of central Amazonian Brazil near the lower Rio Tapajós. Despite its rather showy appearance, almost nothing is known of its life history and behavior. For example, no nests of Scaled Ground-Cuckoo have been found, and ornithologists only rarely are favored with a passing glimpse of a ground-cuckoo as it forages in the company of army ants or peccaries. This primarily terrestrial species moves through the forest discreetly either alone or in pairs, and occasionally giving its moaning dove-like call or a loud, dry clacking sound made by snapping its mandibles together. Scaled Ground-Cuckoo has been classified as a subspecies of Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo (N. geoffroyi) based on genetics and coloration; however, several authors maintain that they can be easily separated by several plumage characters that show no intergradation along the Amazon near the Rio Tapajós where the two forms meet. Scaled Ground-Cuckoo likely is vulnerable to extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation of the Amazonian rainforest. Thus, it is imperative that its status as a distinct species be validated so that it may receive appropriate conservation measures apart from Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, which is much more widely distributed in Central and South America.

Bill snap

© Alexander Lees

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

Recommended Citation

Hughes, J. M. (2018). Scaled Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus squamiger), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.