Moustached Hawk-cuckoo
Moustached hawk cuckoo20081019ch
Range Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Cuculiformes
Family Cuculidae
Genus Hierococcyx
Species Hierococcyx vagans
Conservation Status
Near Threatened
The Moustached hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx vagans), is a species of cuckoo in the Cuculidae family. It is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Its natural habitat is evergreen and secondary forests. Threatened by habitat loss, it has been assessed as a near threatened species.


Salomon Müller described the species in 1845, as Cuculus vagans. The species is monotypic.


The moustached hawk-cuckoo is 25–30 cm (9.8–11.8 in) long, and it weighs about 58–63 g (2.0–2.2 oz). The crown and nape are grey. The ear coverts are white, and there is a blackish moustache. The back is brown, and the tail has brown bands and a buffy or white tip. The flight feathers have buffy bars. The underparts are creamy-white, with blackish streaks. The eye is dark brown or grey, with a yellow eye-ring around it. The beak is black, and the feet are orange-yellow. The juvenile bird's back and wings are blackish, and it has black streaks on its breast. The fledgling also has a moustache.

Distribution and Habitat

The moustached hawk-cuckoo is found in southern Myanmar, Thailand, southern Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Kalimantan, Sumatra and Java of Indonesia. Its habitat is evergreen and secondary forests and forest edges, especially on hills and in alluvial and bamboo forests. It occurs at elevations up to 915 m (3,002 ft).


This cuckoo eats insects and small fruits. It has been seen in mixed-species foraging flocks. It is usually found in thick canopy. Males sing at fixed locations in the canopy, its call being chu-chu or kang-koh repeated every two seconds. It also gives a whistling peu peu that becomes hi-hi and then stops. It has been observed parasitising Abbott's babbler and the rufous-winged philentoma. In mainland Southeast Asia, the breeding season is June to August.


The species is threatened by rapid habitat loss caused by logging, land conversion and forest fires. The population is probably declining at a moderately rapid rate because it can live in secondary forests. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as a Near Threatened.

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