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13

Pallid Cuckoo

(Cuculus pallidus)
Alternate name(s): "Grasshopper Hawk", "Harbinger-of-Spring", "Stormbird*", "Rainbird*", "Semitone-bird", "Scale-bird", "Brainfever-bird"
Aboriginal name(s): "djoodorn" (WA)

Size: 28-34 cm
Weight: 65-115 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Pallid Cuckoo at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Not the photos you want? Or are you after even better quality? Have a look here .

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Pallid Cuckoo with its prey, a cricket (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, November 2018]

Close-up lateral view of a male Pallid Cuckoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, November 2018]

Close-up lateral view of a male Pallid Cuckoo on the ground (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, November 2018]

Close-up near-dorsal view of a male Pallid Cuckoo
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2010]

Here the same Pallid Cuckoo as above issuing its loud call
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2010]

Lateral view of a male Pallid Cuckoo; this is the bird whose call was recorded on 27 July 2014
[Eulah Creek, NSW, July 2014]

Lateral view of a male Pallid Cuckoo on a power line
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, 2006]

Dorsal view showing the remnant pale patch at the back of a (probably male) Pallid Cuckoo's head
(photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Boolardy Station, Murchison, WA, August 2016]

FEMALE

Light-rufous morphology

Near-frontal view of a female Pallid Cuckoo; note the dark eye-stripe and the indication of rufous on the neck
(photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Between Berri and Renmark, SA, September 2018]

Near-dorsal view showing a remnant pale patch at the back of a female Pallid Cuckoo's head
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Willie Wagtail was clearly not pleased by the Pallid Cuckoo's appearance
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a female Pallid Cuckoo behaving strangely, by staying on the ground while being approached by an observer
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, October 2016]

Dorsal view of a female Pallid Cuckoo; note the dark eye-stripe but otherwise light-grey sides of the head
[Eulah Creek, NSW, August 2011]

Dark-rufous morphology

Lateral view of a female Pallid Cuckoo moulting into its first adult plumage
[Mt. Kaputar NP, NSW, January 2017]

Dorsal view of an immature Pallid Cuckoo
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2017]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, January 2006]

Frontal view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo, with a Willie Wagtail confronting it; note the copious white on the wing coverts characterizing this bird as immature
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Lateral view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Near-dorsal view of the same juvenile Pallid Cuckoo as shown above
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, January 2006]

White-plumed Honeyeater making it clear to a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo that it is not welcome
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, January 2006]

Breeding information

As all cuckoos, Pallid Cuckoos host on smaller bird species. One potential host species is the White-plumed Honeyeater.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: ? Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Solitary

Pallid Cuckoo on a power line; note the drooping wings, which is often observed in this species (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[The Granites Gold Mine, inland NT, June 2015]

Food, Diet

Like most other cuckoos, Pallid Cuckoos are insect hunters. They take their prey from foliage and from the ground. This species has a taste for hairy caterpillars, which most other birds dislike.

Male Pallid Cuckoo with its prey, a cricket (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Yarrie Lake, NSW, November 2018]

Lateral view of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo with its prey (which looks like a small beetle)
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2013]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

palcuck_20140727.mp3 dumetorum
(NW NSW)
Contact call (male) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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