Common Name

Scientific Name

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The black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus, breeds throughout much of the northern and central United States, as well as in southern Canada. Black-billed cuckoos migrate south for the winter, with most individuals wintering in South America. The species is a rare summer resident in north-central Utah, and there is some evidence to suggest that it may occasionally breed in that area of the state.

Black-billed cuckoos typically occur in forests, woodlands, and riparian areas. Nests are built low in a tree or shrub, or on the ground. Eggs are laid in the spring; a typical clutch contains two to five eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs, which hatch in approximately two weeks. Young can fly at about three weeks of age. The black-billed cuckoo is sometimes a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of other species.

Black-billed cuckoos are diurnal and eat primarily insects, although small vertebrates and berries are also consumed.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.