Great lizard cuckoo

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Great lizard cuckoo
Great lizard-cuckoo (Saurothera merlini santamariae).JPG
S. m. santamariae
Cayo Coco, Cuba
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Genus: Coccyzus
Species: C. merlini
Binomial name
Coccyzus merlini
D'Orbigny, 1839

Saurothera merlini

The great lizard cuckoo (Coccyzus merlini) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. The species is also known as the Cuban lizard cuckoo. It is found in The Bahamas (on Andros, Eleuthera and New Providence) and Cuba.


The great lizard cuckoo is the largest of the lizard-cuckoos of the Caribbean and the largest species of Coccyzus cuckoo. It is 54 cm (21 in) in length and weighs around 155 g (5.5 oz). The plumage is similar to that of the other lizard-cuckoos: olive-brown backs, wings and crown, white throat and breast and chestnut belly with a deeply barred undertail. The eye has a patch of bare red skin around it, and the bill is long.

This species feeds on lizards and insects such as locusts. Unlike some cuckoos, it raises its own young, nesting in a saucer of twigs and laying two to three eggs.


Its natural habitats are tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests, lowland and montane tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, and heavily degraded former forest.


  • Payne, R.B. (1997). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J., eds. Family Cuculidae (Cuckoos). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-22-9. 
  • Raffaele, Herbert; Wiley, James; Garrido, Orlando; Keith, Allan; Raffaele, Janis (2003). Birds of the West Indies. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0713654196. 

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