Scaled ground cuckoo

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Scaled ground cuckoo
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cuculiformes
Family: Cuculidae
Subfamily: Neomorphinae
Genus: Neomorphus
Species: N. squamiger
Binomial name
Neomorphus squamiger
Todd, 1925

Neomorphus geoffroyi squamiger

The scaled ground cuckoo (Neomorphus squamiger) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae. It is endemic to the Amazon rainforest near the Tapajos River in Brazil, but much confusion exists over the exact limits of its range and the features useful for separating it from the very similar rufous-vented ground cuckoo (the breast-markings of the Amazonian taxa are known to vary clinally). Consequently, it has sometimes been considered a subspecies of the rufous-vented ground cuckoo.


The scaled ground cuckoo is a large ground-dwelling bird with sturdy legs and a long tail. It has a brown head, greenish-brown crest and a curved beak. The upper parts are dark brown, the tail blackish and the underparts pale tan. It has been claimed that it easily can be separated from the rufous-vented ground cuckoo by the lack of a dark chest band, but the variation in this feature in Amazonian rufous-vented ground cuckoos makes the features questionable. As a consequence, recent authorities commonly treat the scaled ground cuckoo as a subspecies of the rufous-vented ground cuckoo.[1][2]


The scaled ground cuckoo is a shy, secretive bird and is seldom seen. Its call is not known, but like other ground cuckoos, it sometimes resorts to bill-clicking. It is rare but probably under-recorded. Single birds or pairs move around together and it often follows the trails of army ants,[3] peccaries and primates.


The scaled ground cuckoo is native to the Amazon rainforest. It is restricted to the region near the Rio Tapajós in Brazil.[4]


The scaled ground cuckoo is uncommon and its range is fragmented. Its global population has not been estimated but its numbers are likely to be in decline. This is because the continuing destruction of the primary rainforest is likely to be impacting on its population, so the IUCN has listed it as being "Vulnerable". It is suspected that its numbers will continue to decline by 30-49% over the next three generations.[4]


  1. ^ Erritzøe, Mann, Brammer and Fuller (2012). Cuckoos of the World. ISBN 978-0713660340
  2. ^ Payne and Klitz (2005). The Cuckoos. ISBN 978-0198502135
  3. ^ "Neomorphus squamiger: Scaled Ground Cuckoo". Neotropical Birds Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  4. ^ a b "Species factsheet: Neomorphus squamiger". BirdLife International. Retrieved 2013-12-18. 

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