Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Lesser cuckoo

Cuculus poliocephalus, John Aubrey Clarendon Latham, 1790

(In Thai: นกคัคคูเล็ก)

The lesser cuckoo (Cuculus poliocephalus) is a species of cuckoo in the family Cuculidae.

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Malawi, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In culture

In Japan, the bird is called and frequently praised for its song.

It has been celebrated by numerous waka poets since the anthology Kokin wakashū (920). Sei Shōnagon in her essay The Pillow Book (1002) mentions a trip she and other courtiers mounted on just to hear this bird, and it was expected of them that they would compose poetry on the occasion. It is also the central image in poem 81 by Tokudaiji Sanesada in the anthology of 100 poems, the Hyakunin Isshu .

The Japanese haiku magazine Hototogisu takes its name from the bird, and the magazine's mastermind Masaoka Shiki's adopted pen name, also refers to the lesser cuckoo; shiki corresponds to the Chinese zǐguī (), which is an alias for its standard name dùjuān ().

In Chinese dùjuān is a generic name and the species' common name is xiāodùjuān.

In Korean literature, the song of the lesser cuckoo represents the sound of sadness.

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Category / Seasonal Status

Wiki listed status (concerning Thai population): Very rare

BCST Category: Recorded in an apparently wild state within the last 50 years

BCST Seasonal status: Breeding visitor

Scientific classification

Cuculus poliocephalus

Common names

  • Thai: นกคัคคูเล็ก

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


No photo for this species yet

Range Map

Distribution map of Lesser cuckoo, Cuculus poliocephalus in Thailand
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
Range map of Cuculus poliocephalus in Thailand