|Black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus)|
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Coccyzus is a genus of cuckoos which occur in the Americas. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kokkuzo, which means to call like a common cuckoo. These include the lizard cuckoos formerly included in the genus Saurothera.
Species and taxonomy
The species in taxonomic order are:
|Image||Common Name||Scientific name||Distribution|
|Black-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus erythropthalmus||the United States, east of the Rockies|
|Yellow-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus americanus||southern United States|
|Pearly-breasted cuckoo||Coccyzus euleri||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Peru, and Venezuela|
|Mangrove cuckoo||Coccyzus minor||southern Florida in the United States, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, both coasts of Mexico and Central America, and the Atlantic coast of South America as far south as the mouth of the Amazon River.|
|Cocos cuckoo||Coccyzus ferrugineus||Costa Rica|
|Dark-billed cuckoo||Coccyzus melacoryphus||Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela|
|Grey-capped cuckoo||Coccyzus lansbergi||Aruba, Colombia, Ecuador, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.|
|Chestnut-bellied cuckoo||Coccyzus pluvialis||Jamaica|
|Bay-breasted cuckoo||Coccyzus rufigularis||Hispaniola|
|Great lizard cuckoo||Coccyzus merlini||The Bahamas (on Andros, Eleuthera and New Providence) and Cuba|
|Puerto Rican lizard cuckoo||Coccyzus vieilloti||Puerto Rico|
|Jamaican lizard cuckoo||Coccyzus vetula||Jamaica|
|Hispaniolan lizard cuckoo||Coccyzus longirostris||Haiti and the Dominican Republic|
The genera Saurothera (the lizard cuckoos) and Hyetornis (chestnut-bellied and bay-breasted cuckoos) were lumped with Coccyzus by the American Ornithologists' Union in 2006.
On the other hand, the ash-colored cuckoo and dwarf cuckoo – at one time separated in Micrococcyx – have been found to be closest relatives of the little cuckoo, formerly in Piaya. These three are now again placed in the reinstated genus of the latter, Coccycua.
Description and ecology
Coccyzus cuckoos, unlike many Old World species, build their own nests in trees and lay two or more eggs. Yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoos occasionally lay eggs in the nests of other birds, but are not obligate brood parasites like the common cuckoo of Eurasia.
Northern species such as yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoos are strong migrants, wintering in Central or South America, and occasionally wander to western Europe as rare vagrants, but the tropical Coccyzus cuckoos are mainly sedentary.
These are vocal species when breeding, with persistent and loud calls. They feed on large insects such as cicadas, wasps and caterpillars (including those with stinging hairs or spines which are distasteful to many birds). Lizard cuckoos are large and powerful species, and mainly take vertebrate prey, especially, as the name implies, lizards.