Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Posted on in Recent Sightings by Hawk Mountain

Yellow-billed Cuckoo perched on a branch

A walk along the Lookout Trail might result in an interaction with a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) this time of year. They spend their summers in woodlands of the eastern U.S., then return to their overwintering grounds in South America. Yellow-billed cuckoos are a medium-sized bird with slightly downcurved bill and a long black and white spotted tail. Plumage is brown above and white below, and wings have rusty-orange patches on the outer edges. These relatively large birds often go unseen due to their tendency to stay still and concealed in the canopy. The best way to detect the presence of a yellow-billed cuckoo is by ear—listen for a soft repeated cooing song or a rattling ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp call.

Photo by Bill Moses.