Black-eared Cuckoo

Did you know?

The Black-eared Cuckoo, like the Pallid Cuckoo, eats hairy caterpillars, which are disliked by most other birds.

The Black-eared Cuckoo is usually quiet, but in the breeding season the male calls to attract a female. The call is a piercing, drawn-out, slightly descending whistle repeated at regular intervals.
Facts and Figures
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Breeding season: 
March to July inland, from June to October in the west, and from August to December in the east.
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Nestling Period: 
20 days
Conservation Status
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What does it look like?

The Black-eared Cuckoo is brown-grey on the head, neck and back, with a faint olive-bronze metallic sheen on the saddle of the back. The rump is pale, and the underparts are creamy-buff without the barring that is so distinctive on the other bronze-cuckoos, except on the outer feathers of the tail. The face is creamy-white, with a white eyebrow widening towards the neck, and below that an obvious black eye-stripe. The juvenile is like the adult, but paler.

Similar species: 

The Black-eared Cuckoo is similar to the juvenile Horsfield's Bronze-CuckooChrysococcyx basalis, but the Black-eared Cuckoo is larger, has no rufous on the tail, and has a broader black eye -stripe.

Where does it live?

The Black-eared Cuckoo is widespread on mainland Australia, but avoids the wet, heavily forested areas on the east coast and the south-west corner of Western Australia. It is an occasional vagrant to offshore islands and Tasmania.


The Black-eared Cuckoo is found in drier country where species such as mulga and mallee form open woodlands and shrublands. It is often found in vegetation along creek beds.

Seasonal movements: 

The Black-eared Cuckoo is common across northern Australia. It is migratory, moving into the sub-coastal areas of south-east and south-west Australia for the summer.

What does it do?

The Black-eared Cuckoo perches on a shrub or tree, and drops from its perch to forage for insects on the ground.


The Black-eared Cuckoo is a parasitic breeder, that is, it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. By preference, the Black-eared Cuckoo chooses the domed or enclosed nests of species such as the Speckled Warbler, Chthonicola sagittata, or the Redthroat,

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