Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo

Thai: นกคัคคูเหยี่ยวอกแดง, nok khak-khu yieow ok daeng

Binomial name: Hierococcyx nisicolor, Thomas Horsfield, 1821

The Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx nisicolor), also known as the northern hawk-cuckoo is a species of cuckoo found in north-eastern India, Burma, southern China, and southeast Asia.

Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo is a brood parasite. The chick evicts bona fide residents of the parasitized nest, thus becoming the sole occupant. Under normal circumstances, this would reduce the provisioning rate as the foster parents see only one gape. To counteract this, the Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo displays gape-coloured patches of skin under its wing to simulate additional gapes; the strategy appears to increase the provisioning rate. This is in contrast to other species of cuckoo (such as the common cuckoo) which increase the rapidity of high pitched hunger calls to increase the provisioning rate.

Although the skin patch is not gape-shaped, it is convincing: host parents occasionally place food into the patch.

Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo was formerly regarded as having four subspecies. The Philippine hawk-cuckoo is now commonly treated as a separate species, H. pectoralis. The remaining forms are also now split into three species: Malaysian hawk-cuckoo (H. fugax), Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo (H. nisicolor) and Rufous hawk-cuckoo or Northern hawk-cuckoo (H. hyperythrus).

The common name commemorates the British naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Cuculiformes
Family
Cuculidae
Genus
Hierococcyx
Species
Hierococcyx nisicolor

Common names

  • Thai: นกคัคคูเหยี่ยวอกแดง, nok khak-khu yieow ok daeng

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Hodgson's hawk-cuckoo, Hierococcyx nisicolor in Thailand

Range map of Hierococcyx nisicolor in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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