Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia)

Striped Cuckoo

[order] Cuculiformes | [family] Cuculidae | [latin] Tapera naevia | [UK] Striped Cuckoo | [FR] Geocoucou tachete | [DE] Streifenkuckuck | [ES] Cuclillo Crespin | [IT] Cuculo striato | [NL] Gestreepte Koekoek


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Dromococcyx naevia
Tapera naevia LA s Mexico to n Argentina
Tapera naevia excellens s Mexico to Panama
Tapera naevia naevia n South America through Brazil and Bolivia to n Argentina

Physical charateristics

At hatching striped cuckoos are featherless, with pink skin and a yellow-orange gape. Feathers are grown after approximately ten days. Immature striped cuckoos are characterized by a black head, black markings on the neck, wavy black markings on the underside, and yellow spots on the feathers of the upper body. Adults are overall brown in color, and are distinguished by a shaggy crest and black streaks along the back. The feathers of the adult’s long tail are grey-brown and white tipped. The adult also has abnormally large, dark alulas feathers (the alulas is a joint in the middle of the bird’s wing.), sexes are similar.

Listen to the sound of Striped Cuckoo

[audio: Cuckoo.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 29 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 15 days incubation max.: 16 days
fledging min.: 18 days fledging max.: 20 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


The striped cuckoo is found from southern Mexico to southwestern Ecuador, as well as in northern Argentina and southeastern Brazil. Common inhabitant of open country in th coastal and savannah region in Suriname.


Striped cuckoos occupy tropical habitats, which commonly include grasslands and scrub forests from sea level to 1400 m in elevation. These birds are usually found near the edge of forests, in areas with scattered shrubs and trees. Less commonly they are round in tropical bogs.


There is little available information regarding reproduction in Tapera naevia and other cuckoo species. Striped cuckoos use songs to attract mates, in other cuckoo species one female will mate “at random with males.” Striped cuckoos are brood parasites (neither males nor females provide parental care to offspring) suggesting that they may be promiscuous.
There is little available information regarding general reproductive behavior in Tapera naevia. Although records are limited, breeding and reproduction have been observed from January until October, suggesting that striped cuckoos breed nearly year round. The number of offspring produced each breeding season is unknown; however, other cuckoo species produce approximately one to five eggs each breeding season. The incubation period is about 15 days. The young are fledged and leave the nest after 18 to 20 days.
Striped cuckoos are brood parasites; adult females lay their eggs in the nest of another bird species. They lay their eggs just after dawn, and usually choose host species with covered or dome shaped nests. The host species is “tricked” into caring extensively for young that are not its own. Striped cuckoos have more than 20 documented host species. They are obligate brood parasites, they do not build nests or incubate eggs.

Feeding habits

There is little available information regarding the food habits of striped cuckoos. They eat insects, mostly grasshoppers. Other cuckoo species are omnivores, also eating insects, in addition to spiders, fruits, seeds, and even small vertebrates.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 12,000,000 km

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