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Jacobin Cuckoo | Birds And Me

Jacobin Cuckoo


Jacobin Cuckoo

Scientific Name:  Clamator jacobinus

Jacobin Cuckoo image

Jacobin Cuckoo  Photo by:  Admin

Bird Type:  Perching Birds    1093  Views


The Jacobin Cuckoo adult of nominate race (not displayed) has glossy black or dark brown upperparts with a white wingbar visible on closed wings but more conspicuous in flight. The long, graduated tail is tipped white.
The underparts are white.
The head is black, but lower cheeks, chin and throat are white. We can see a pointed crest on the nape.
The bill is black. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are grey. Male and female are similar.
The juvenile is browner above and buffy-white below. It has reduced crest, and smaller white wingbar, but the tail is tipped white like in adults. The bill is black with yellow-orange gape. The eyes are dark brown.


  • 33-33 cm

  • 13-13 Inch

  • black

  • white  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    চাতক, পাকড়া পাপিয়া, পাপিয়া
  •    ચાતક
  •    चातक
  •    ಚಾತಕ
  •    കൊമ്പൻ‌കുയിൽ
  •    चातक
  •    जुरे कोइली
  •    ਬਰਸਾਤੀ ਪਪੀਹਾ
  •    कपिञ्जल / चातक
  •    చాతక పక్షి
  •    சுடலைக் குயில்

These cuckoo species inhabit dry, deciduous forests, thorny, dry scrub jungle, open woodland, thorny jungle, plains and dry lowlands. They avoid dense forests and extremely dry ecosystems.
The Jacobin Cuckoo frequents woodlands, thickets, dry, wooded savannas and grassy marsh habitats. In Indian range, it occurs mainly in lowland, plains and hills, and can be seen up to 2000 metres of elevation. However, during the migrations, it may occur up to 4200 metres in the Himalayas.


The diet primarily consists of insects, grasshoppers, hairy caterpillars, termites, land snails, fruits and berries.


A metallic piu...piu... pee-pee piu, pee-pee piu.


The Jacobin cuckoo, pied cuckoo, or pied crested cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds that is found in Africa and Asia. It is partially migratory and in India, it has been considered a harbinger of the monsoon rains due to the timing of its arrival. It has been associated with a bird in Indian mythology and poetry, known as the chataka (Sanskrit: चातक) represented as a bird with a beak on its head that waits for rains to quench its thirst.

This medium-sized, slim black and white cuckoo with a crest is distinctive. The white wing patch on the black wing and the pattern make it unmistakable even in flight. They are very vocal during the breeding season. The call is a ringing series of whistling notes "piu-piu" with the calls of the nominate form more rapid and slightly mellower.

In India the subspecies serratus (Sparrman, 1786) is a summer breeding visitor to northern India and is believed to migrate to southern Africa. This is larger and longer winged than the nominate subspecies found in the southern peninsular region and Sri Lanka is said to be a local migrant. No ringing evidence exists to support the actual migration to Africa.

In Africa, subspecies serratus and pica (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) show two phases, a pied phase with white or whitish below and a black phase where the only white is on the wing patch. Mating appears to be assortative, with pied phase males pairing with pied phase females. An all-rufous color phase has been noted in Central Africa. There is lack of clarity on the migration and plumage variation involved. Subspecies pica has been said to be the form that migrates between Africa and India however Rasmussen & Anderton (2005) suggest serratus as being the valid name for the Afro-Indian migrants.

In the past some other African subspecies have been suggested such as hypopinarus from South Africa and caroli from the Gabon.

    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season



Location:, Bamanbor, Gujarat

Photo by:  Admin