Red-chested cuckoo

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Red-chested cuckoo
Red-chested cuckoo (Cuculus solitarius) female.jpg
female, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Genus: Cuculus
Species: C. solitarius
Binomial name
Cuculus solitarius
Stephens, 1815

The red-chested cuckoo (Cuculus solitarius) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is a medium-sized bird (28 to 30 cm), found in Africa south of the Sahara. In Afrikaans, it is known as "Piet-my-vrou", after its call.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is found in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In Southern Africa it is a common breeding migrant, found throughout the area except for the drier west.

The preferred habitats for the red-chested cuckoo are woodlands. The red-chested cuckoo is normally seen by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.


It is usually solitary and highly vocal and lives on forests and plantations. It eats insects.

Cape robin-chat feeding a juvenile red-chested cuckoo

The red-chested cuckoo takes on more than a single mate (it is polygamous). The nesting habit of red-chested cuckoo is to use the nest of another bird (brood parasitism). About fifteen different species of small bird are parasitised but the most common hosts are the Cape robin-chat (Cossypha caffra), the Cape wagtail (Motacilla capensis) and the white-throated robin-chat (Cossypha humeralis).[3] The surrogate family then raise the chick. The bird lays eggs which are brown in colour and number between 20 eggs per season in different nests.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cuculus solitarius". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Sinclair, Ian. Voëls van Suider-Afrika. Struik. ISBN 1-86825-197-7. 
  3. ^ "Cuculus solitarius (Red-chested cuckoo)". Biodiversity Explorer. Izico. Retrieved 2014-06-10. 

External links[edit]