Large Hawk-cuckoo  Hierrococcyx sparverioides

(aka Cuculus sparverioides )
Large Hawk-cuckoo, Deothang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan, April 2008 - click for larger image

Deothang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan
April 2008

The Large Hawk-cuckoo has two sub-species. The nominate, shown here, breeds in the Himalayas from north Pakistan eastwards and into China and south into Indochina. This population winters in eastern India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. The other sub-species H. s. bocki is resident in the mountains of Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

It is found in forest and woodland where it feeds on insects, mainly caterpillars, spiders, birds eggs and berries.

Large Hawk-cuckoo, Deothang, Samdrup Jongkhar, Bhutan, April 2008 - click for larger image It has a greyish-brown back, a grey head and a tail with broad bars. The throat is white and the breast is rufous and both have dark streaks. The belly has broad black bands on white. The eyering is yellow and the iris is orange to buff in colour.

It is a brood parasite and its hosts tend to be Laughingthrush, Barwings and similar. Its scientific specific name sparverioides means "resembling a Sparrowhawk" and, in flight, it looks just like a Sparrowhawk. It is possible that this may cause potential hosts to flee allowing the Large Hawk Cuckoo to lay its eggs.

There is a recording on xeno-canto .
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