Brown Cuckoo-Dove

Did you know?

The very long graduated tail helps the Brown Cuckoo-Dove to balance as it hangs from branches and moves in the canopy, searching for fruit.

The call is a haunting and distinctive 'coo-cu-woot' rising at the end. Sounds like: 'did you walk?'
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
Minimum Size: 
Maximum Size: 
Average size: 
Average weight: 
Breeding season: 
July to December, possibly all year.
Clutch Size: 
1 to 2 eggs
18 days
Nestling Period: 
16 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
What does it look like?

The Brown Cuckoo-Dove is a large brown pigeon of rainforests, with a very long, tapering tail. There is a pale streak below the blue-grey eye and a red eye-ring. The female has a brighter chestnut cap and a scaly pattern on the breast. The legs and feet are red. Their flight is strong and graceful, usually low among the trees. This species is also known as the Brown, Pheasant or Large-tailed Pigeon.

Similar species: 

The large size and graduated tail distinguishes the Brown Cuckoo-Dove from any other pigeon in the region.

Where does it live?

The Brown Cuckoo-Dove is found throughout north-eastern and eastern Queensland, including off-shore islands, and eastern coastal areas of New South Wales. Its range is expanding down the coast of New South Wales. This species is also found from the Philippines, south through Borneo to Sumatra, through the Moluccas and Sulawesi to New Guinea.


This is a pigeon of rainforests and wet sclerophyll forest, particularly at the forest edges, along creeks and rivers. Brown Cuckoo-Doves are often found in regrowth along roads, in clearings and in weedy areas like lantana.

Seasonal movements: 

No large-scale seasonal movement, but move locally in search of fruit.

What does it do?

Brown Cuckoo-Doves feed on fruit, berries and seeds from a variety of rainforest trees, shrubs and vines. They usually feed in the trees in the early morning and the late afternoon, often hanging upside down to reach fruit. They come to the ground to drink and to eat grit. They can digest very hard seeds.


Brown Cuckoo-Doves nest in rainforest trees, shrubs and the tops of vines and ferns, with the nest being a scanty collection of twigs and sticks placed sideways on a branch. The young are covered with long thick down when first hatched. Both parents share the incubation and care of the young.

Living with us

Brown Cuckoo-Doves may benefit from disturbance to habitat by logging and track-making. They appear to be spreading south down the east coast.

 and   @birdsinbackyards
                 Subscribe to me on YouTube