Channel-billed Cuckoo

From Dry Tropics Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Channel-billed Cuckoo, Scythrops novaehollandiae, is a large bird ranging from 58cm to 65cm. It is a migratory bird, arriving August-October departing March-April. It is a large cuckoo with a very large prominent down-curved, light coloured bill. Their head, neck and underparts are of a light grey, and their back and wings appear a darker grey with black tips on the feathers. Their eyes and eye rings share the colour red. Identified in fight as the ‘flying cross’, often high overhead with raucous calls. Juveniles are a buffy colour with mottled wings.

Feeding Habits

  • Fruit
  • Berries
  • Insects

Generally feeds high in the tree-tops, away from predators.


A parasitic nester in that it lays its eggs in other birds nests and allows the other bird to hatch the eggs and raise the chicks. The open nests of magpies, currawongs, ravens and crows, are the favoured choice in which to lay one egg, although sometimes two-to-five have been recorded.

Places to Look

  • Tree-tops in open forests and woodlands
  • Water courses
  • Areas where native fig trees are abundant.


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

Channel-billed Cuckoo © Birdlife Townsville 2008

This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at
NQ Dry Tropics Website