Black-billed Cuckoo

h2 Basic Description

The Black-billed Cuckoo is a medium-sized bird that measures about 10-13 inches in length and weighs around 1.5 ounces. Their plumage is mostly brownish-grey with white spots on the underparts, greenish-black wings, and tail with white tips. They also have a distinctive black bill, which gives them their name.

h2 Where To Find This Bird

Black-billed cuckoos breed across much of eastern North America from southern Canada to the Gulf Coast states. They migrate to South America for winter but can be seen in some parts of Central America during migration periods.

h2 Habitat

Black-billed cuckoos are birds of wooded areas such as deciduous forests, swamps, thickets near watercourses or shrubby edges of fields. During breeding season they prefer riparian habitats while on migration they are found in more open woodlands.

h2 Food

The Black-billed Cuckoo feeds mainly on insects such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, cicadas and beetles which it catches by gleaning through foliage or hovering with head down before pouncing when prey is spotted.

h2 Cool Facts

• The Black-billed Cuckoo has an unusual strategy for laying eggs; they lay one egg per day but wait until there are enough eggs to make a full clutch before starting incubation.

• Like many other species of cuckoos, the young hatchlings will sometimes remove unhatched eggs or nestmates from their nests by pushing them over the edge when being fed.

• Insects form virtually all its diet throughout the year except during occasional fruit-eating observances noted at specific times within their ranges.

• Often heard rather than seen due to being secretive in nature; most easily observed when singing which consists of low pitched notes uttered slowly together making up single phrases that end abruptly followed by several “coos”.