Mangrove Cuckoo (Coccyzus minor)

Mangrove Cuckoo


The mangrove cuckoo (Coccyzus minor) is a species of cuckoo that is native to the Neotropics. Adults have a long tail, brown above and black-and-white below, and a black curved bill with yellow on the lower mandible. The head and upper parts are brown. There is a yellow ring around the eye. This bird is best distinguished by its black facial mask and buffy underparts. Although the scientific name is minor (meaning "small"), this species is on average the largest of North America's three Coccyzus cuckoos. Adults measure 28–34 cm (11–13 in) in length, weigh 64–102 g (2.3–3.6 oz) and span 38–43 cm (15–17 in) across the wings. The most common call heard is a guttural "gawk gawk gawk gawk gauk gauk". It will also call a single "whit".

Distribution And Habitat

The Mangrove Cuckoo occurs from south Florida in the United States through Central America and northern South America including the West Indies, where it is generally a common resident throughout most of the islands (Raffaele and others 1998). It is common and fairly abundant throughout Puerto Ricos mainland at all elevations (Biaggi 1997). It is also known to inhabit satellite islands such as Desecheo (Meier and others 1989), Culebra (Wetmore 1917), Mona (Barnés 1946, Bowdish 1902, Gordon and others 1961, Terborgh and Faaborg 1973), and Vieques (Sorrié 1975, Wetmore 1916), in the latter being a common resident throughout the year (Gemmill 2015). This species generally inhabits mangroves and mangrove swamps, coffee plantations, thickets (Raffaele 1989a), limestone hills, coastal scrub, and mountain forests (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 513 records within 306 hexagons or 64 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 306 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 7 percent (20) of the hexagons, probable in 17 percent (51), and possible in 77 percent (235) (see map).Mangrove Cuckoo distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 71Mangrove Cuckoo/Pájaro Bobo Menor

Mangrove Cuckoo Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Mangrove Cuckoo builds a fl imsy nest made of dry twigs and sticks, usually placed on a horizontal limb in a tree or bush (Biaggi 1997, Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that it breeds from February to June (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity peaks in May at the onset of the rainy season, and it mostly takes place in the subtropical moist forest life zone (57 percent of the hexagons) (see table and chart). It also breeds within the subtropical dry forest life zone (25 percent of the hexagons) and in the subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones at higher elevations (19 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current population trend of the Mangrove Cuckoo is suspected to be stable due to the lack of evidence for any declines or threats, and it is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Mangrove Cuckoo has a protected habitat in land of 12 percent or 911 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (7318 km2).