Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo is a brood parasite. The chick evicts bona fide residents of the parasitized nest, thus becoming the sole occupant. Under normal circumstances, this would reduce the provisioning rate as the foster parents see only one gape. To counteract this, the Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo displays gape-coloured patches of skin under its wing to simulate additional gapes; the strategy appears to increase the provisioning rate. This is in contrast to other species of cuckoo (such as the common cuckoo) which increase the rapidity of high pitched hunger calls to increase the provisioning rate.
Although the skin patch is not gape-shaped, it is convincing: host parents occasionally place food into the patch.
Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo was formerly regarded as having four subspecies. The Philippine hawk-cuckoo is now commonly treated as a separate species, H. pectoralis. The remaining forms are also now split into three species: Malaysian hawk-cuckoo (H. fugax), Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo (H. nisicolor) and Rufous hawk-cuckoo or Northern hawk-cuckoo (H. hyperythrus).
- BirdLife International (2014). "Hierococcyx nisicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
- Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 167.