Lesser Cuckoo | Cuculus poliocephalus | Birds & Birding Southern Africa

The Lesser Cuckoo is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Cuculidae bird family group which includes birds such as Old World Cuckoos, Malkohas.

Robert's Birding Information On The Lesser Cuckoo

The description for the Lesser Cuckoo (Latin name Cuculus poliocephalus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Cuculus poliocephalus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 376 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 209. You will find a picture of the Lesser Cuckoo on page 208.

The Lesser Cuckoo is known as a "lifer" in the birding circles of South Africa.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Lesser Cuckoo between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Lesser Cuckoo has a height of 27 cms and weighs around 55 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured brown. The Cuculus poliocephalus has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Cuculus poliocephalus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey

Eyes are brown

Bill is brown

Legs are yellow

Throat is grey

Back is grey

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Lesser Cuckoo Feeding Habits ...

The Lesser Cuckoo is usually seen hunting for food within the tree foliage.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Lesser Cuckoo Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Lesser Cuckoo is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the African bushveld.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

The Lesser Cuckoo is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.