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the web of life in southern Africa

Cercococcyx montanus (Barred long-tailed cuckoo , Barred cuckoo) 

Langstertkoekoek [Afrikaans]; Gestreepte langstaartkoekoek [Dutch]; Coucou montagnard [French]; Bergkuckuck [German]; Cuco-das-montanhas [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Cuculiformes > Family: Cuculidae

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from southern Kenya to Tanzania, Malawi and northern and central Mozambique, as well as northern and south-eastern Zimbabwe. It generally prefers dense riverine forest with deciduous thickets, munondo (Julbernadia), coastal thickets and lowland evergreen forest.

Distribution of Barred long-tailed cuckoo in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).

Movements and migrations

Rare summer visitor to the forests of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.


Mainly eats caterpillars and other small invertebrates such as small snails, doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy.


  • Little known, it is a brood parasite, meaning that it lays its eggs in the nest of other birds, possibly including African broadbills and East coast akalats.
  • It was once recorded to lay a single egg in December.


Status uncertain, but probably threatened by the clearing of forests.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.