Bush Cuckoo

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Brush Cuckoo, Cacomantis variolosus, is a medium sized bird, ranging from 22cm to 26cm. The Bush Cuckoo's head is grey with a pale eye ring and has a short curved black bill. The Bush Cuckoo's back is a pale grey/brown, breast and underparts pale buff. Pale grey/brown square tail, tipped with white. Under tail is brown with dull white barring. Legs are grey. Immature, mottled brown with brown barred underparts. Call is six-to-seven mournful descending notes, rising and becoming more insistent, calling day and night in warmer months.

Feeding Habits

Sits quietly and motionless, darting out to take caterpillars and insects from vegetation or on the ground.


A parasitic nester in that it lays one egg in other bird’s nests and allows the other bird to hatch the egg and raise the chick. It prefers the nests of flycatchers or the brown-backed honeyeater.

Places to Look

Prefers the dense closed canopy of areas such as:

  • Woodlands
  • Watercourses
  • Scrubby roadsides

Although it sits motionless and often silent, it may attract attention by its loud calls.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

Bush Cuckoo © Birdlife Townsville 2008

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