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It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malawi, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In Japan, the bird is called hototogisu (ホトトギス?) and is frequently praised for its song, and ranked as her favorite bird by Sei Shonagon in her account of court life in Heian Japan, The Pillow Book. It is also a pivotal image in poem 81 of the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology.
In Korean literature, song of lesser cuckoo represents sound of sadness.
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