Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Plaintive cuckoo

Thai: นกอีวาบตั๊กแตน, nok e-waab tak-ka-taen

Binomial name: Cacomantis merulinus, Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, 1786

The plaintive cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus) is a species of bird belonging to the genus Cacomantis in the cuckoo family Cuculidae. It is native to Asia, from India and China to Indonesia.

Description

It is a fairly small cuckoo, 21-23.5 centimetres long. The adult male is grey-brown above and orange below with a grey head, throat and upper breast. There are white tips to the tail feathers. The legs and feet are yellow, the eye is red and the bill is black above and yellow below. The adult female is sometimes similar to the male but often occurs in a "hepatic" morph. This form is reddish-brown above with dark bars. The underparts are paler with fainter barring. There is a pale stripe over the eye and the tail has dark bars along its whole length. Juvenile birds are similar to hepatic females but are paler and have dark streaks rather than bars on the crown and throat.

The male has several plaintive whistling calls. These include an ascending series of three-note phrases and a series of 11 or 12 descending notes.

Distribution and subspecies

There are four subspecies. The nominate form C. m. merulinus is found in the Philippines where it is common on many of the larger islands. C. m. querulus is the most widespread form, occurring in north-east India, Bangladesh, southern China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. It is a summer visitor to most of its Chinese range, migrating south for the winter. C. m. threnodes is found in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo while C. m. lanceolatus occurs in Java, Bali and Sulawesi.

The grey-bellied cuckoo (C. passerinus) was formerly classified as a subspecies of the plaintive cuckoo but is now often treated as a separate species.

Ecology

The plaintive cuckoo inhabits forest edge, open woodland, scrub, grassland, farmland, parks and gardens. It feeds on invertebrates. It is normally solitary and is often difficult to see.

It is a brood parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of cisticolas, prinias and tailorbirds. The eggs are similar to those of the host species but are larger. Small birds often mob the cuckoo to drive it away from their nests.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Cuculiformes
Family
Cuculidae
Genus
Cacomantis
Species
Cacomantis merulinus

Common names

  • Thai: นกอีวาบตั๊กแตน, nok e-waab tak-ka-taen

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Plaintive cuckoo

Plaintive cuckoo

Copyright iStockphoto,

Distribution map of Plaintive cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo
  • Ban Chang District, Rayong
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Pho District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Bua Thong District, Nonthaburi
  • Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Lang National Park
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pakong District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khan District, Loei
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lang
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Phu Kha National Park
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Erawan National Park
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hat Chao Mai National Park
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • In Buri District, Sing Buri
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Banthat Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Chong
  • Khao Khiao - Khao Chomphu Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Luang National Park
  • Khao Nam Khang National Park
  • Khao Nan National Park
  • Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Sanam Prieng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khlong Phanom National Park
  • Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khun Chae National Park
  • Khura Buri District, Phang Nga
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Kromluang Chumphon Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kui Buri National Park
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • La-ngu District, Satun
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Lam Nam Kok National Park
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Wong National Park
  • Mu Ko Chumphon National Park
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chachoengsao District, Chachoengsao
  • Mueang Chaiyaphum District, Chaiyaphum
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Kanchanaburi District, Kanchanaburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Loei District, Loei
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Mueang Nakhon Si Thammarat District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Nonthaburi District, Nonthaburi
  • Mueang Pathum Thani District, Pathum Thani
  • Mueang Phang Nga District, Phang Nga
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phichit District, Phichit
  • Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Prachinburi District, Prachinburi
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Rayong District, Rayong
  • Mueang Sa Kaeo District, Sa Kaeo
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Satun District, Satun
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Phong National Park
  • Non Thai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Han Lake
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Suea District, Pathum Thani
  • Nong Thung Thong Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Ob Khan National Park
  • Omkoi Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pa Sang District, Lamphun
  • Pai District, Mae Hong Son
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Kret District, Nonthaburi
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pathio District, Chumphon
  • Pha Daeng National Park
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phanat Nikhom District, Chonburi
  • Phimai District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Suan Sai National Park
  • Phunphin District, Surat Thani
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi
  • Samae San Island
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Kala Khiri National Park
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Sankhaburi District, Chainat
  • Sattahip District, Chonburi
  • Si Racha District, Chonburi
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Sirinat National Park
  • Sri Phang-nga National Park
  • Tai Rom Yen National Park
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Sala District, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Tha Takiap District, Chachoengsao
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Ban National Park
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thap Lan National Park
  • Thawat Buri District, Roi Et
  • Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wang Saphung District, Loei
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area
  • Wat Tham Erawan Non-hunting Area
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai
  • Yan Ta Khao District, Trang

Range map of Cacomantis merulinus 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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